National Certification in Unified English Braille (NCUEB)

 

Overview
Why Was There a Need to Adopt a New Code?
Why Is the NCUEB Important?
Why Become Certified?
Material Covered in the Exam
Eligibility
Registration Process
Examination Process
What to Bring to the Exam
Prohibited Items
Exam Results
Retesting
Practice Materials
Dates and Locations
Fees
Paying Fees
Refunds
Accommodations
Canceling or Stopping the Test
Recertification
Appeal Process

 

The National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) administers the National Certification in Unified English Braille (NCUEB) exam as a five-year renewable certification awarded to those who successfully pass all three sections of the exam. Although the test can be taken by anyone, it is intended primarily for teachers, future teachers and other professionals whose responsibilities include teaching or producing braille. Individuals who are interested in applying for NCUEB certification are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with all of the information included here.
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Why Was There a Need to Adopt a New Code?

The following information has been taken from the BANA website, www.brailleauthority.org. Additional information can also be found there. Making changes to the braille code has help braille readers, braille transcribers and producers, and teachers of blind students in a number of ways. For example

  • More consistency, less ambiguity, and fewer exceptions to braille rules has make braille easier to produce and has remove some barriers to learning braille
  • The ability to show more symbols in braille has given the braille reader better access to the same information that is available to print readers.
  • Computer translation and backtranslation is produced more quickly and with less human intervention than previously required.
  • More accurate computer translation from print to braille and from braille to print has:
  • Reduced the errors and ambiguity experienced by those reading contracted braille on refreshable braille displays, which are the equivalent of a screen on a computer or mobile device
  • Improved the backtranslation of braille that is written using electronic devices, so that braille users can write in braille to communicate easily and accurately with non-braille users
  • Increased the timeliness of many types of braille production by permitting braille transcribers to focus more on advanced aspects of braille production rather than spending time on routine matters
  • Reduced the labor required in braille production, allowing teachers to spend more time working with the students instead of brailling materials for their students
  • Mitigated, to some extent, the difficulties experienced by a reader who is required to read computer-produced braille that has been prepared by someone who has not been trained in braille transcription

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How much has braille really changed?

The literary code can be easily read by those familiar with the current braille code. The following list is not comprehensive, but is provided to give a general sense of how literary braille has change:

  • The dot formations of letters and numbers in the literary code has stay the same.
  • Out of the previous 189 contractions, nine have been be deleted to make room in the code for greater consistency and less confusion in the representation of other symbols. The nine eliminated contractions are: ally, ation, ble, by, com, dd, into, o'clock, to.
  • Some rules for when and when not to use contractions have been changed. Some contractions are used more often.
  • Words that were previously written together such as "and the" are now spaced apart as they are in print.
  • Most of the punctuation has remain the same, but some have change; for example, the opening parenthesis has become dots 5, 1-2-6 and the closing parenthesis is dots 5, 3-4-5. This means that braille, just like print, has separate and unique symbols to differentiate opening and closing parentheses. The period is shown as dots 2-5-6 so that, just like in print, the same symbol is used regardless of whether it means full stop, decimal point, or dot.
  • Some symbols, such as asterisk, percent sign, dollar sign, and degree sign, have changed. Copyright, trademark, and crosshatch, have remain the same.
  • The methods of indicating emphasis, such as italics, boldface, or underlining, have been changed. These attributes are not shown more frequently than they are in current braille, but now a braille reader would be able to distinguish, for example, whether a word is in italics or was underlined.
  • A major limitation of the base literary code previously used is that there was no good way to show the math symbols that sometimes occur in everyday writing and may or may not be related to actual math at all. Operational symbols such as plus and equals that did not previously exist in the literary code have now been added.
  • The rules for formatting of headings, paragraphs, contents pages, and other items involving spacing or placement on a page have not been affected.
  • It is no longer necessary to switch into a special code to read and write web and email addresses.
  • There have been no changes made to either the Nemeth mathematical code, music code or the International Phonetic Alphabet code.

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Why Is the NCUEB Important?

If you currently hold a degree in working with either blind adults or children, you have met the curriculum requirements of a specific university. However, each professional preparation program establishes its own criteria for braille competency. By adding the designation of NCUEB certification administered by a nationally recognized credentialing organization, you will unequivocally demonstrate that you possess knowledge and skill in the use of the braille code beyond the rudimentary level. This is especially true given that most professionals in the field were trained prior to the adoption of UEB and therefore certification is even more important to demonstrate professional qualifications in reading and writing of the braille code.
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Why Become Certified?

There are a number of professions that have certification as a part of distinguishing individuals as possessing a standard of expertise. Physicians and teachers are just two examples. The existence of certifications developed in these professions is indicative proof of the need to meet specific standards that are uniformly applied to those engaging in specialized fields.
The goal of the NCUEB, as any other certification process, is to:

  • Recognize that a uniform national standard set by professionals in the field has been met.
  • Assure employers, school administrators, colleagues, consumers, families, and other professionals that certificants possess updated and appropriate braille knowledge and skills.
  • Enhance professional credibility.
  • Increase job competitiveness.
  • Contribute to a higher degree of job satisfaction.
  • Provide an opportunity for professional development.
  • Prepare professionals and paraprofessionals to meet current and future needs.
  • Provide essential information necessary for consumers to make informed choices.

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Material Covered in the Exam

The NCUEB covers contracted literary braille as described in the Rules of Unified English Braille, 2nd Edition, 2013 and is available from the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). During the exam, test takers will be provided with the only reference material allowed.
The examination consists of three sections:
1. Braille Writing: using a braillewriter
2. Proofreading: identifying embedded errors
3. Multiple Choice: answering questions about correct braille usage and rules
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Eligibility

There are no prerequisites for taking the NCUEB exam. However, it is presumed that test takers have received adequate preparation in learning to read and write the Unified English Braille code.
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Registration Process

Individuals wishing to demonstrate their proficiency in the Unified English Braille code must register and submit appropriate fees. After your registration has been processed, you will be contacted to confirm testing date, time, location, and any other relevant information related to taking the exam. No registration will be processed until the NBPCB has received the full amount of the testing fee unless specific arrangements have been made.
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Examination Process

You will have a maximum of four and one-half (4.5) hours to complete the test: 90 minutes for Braille Writing; 90 minutes for Proofreading; and 60 minutes for Multiple Choice. There will be two 15 minute breaks between each section. We will provide reference materials.
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What to Bring to the Exam

You are responsible for providing the following items on the day of the exam:

  • Government issued photo ID
  • Manual braillewriter that can accommodate 11x11.5 paper and is in good working condition
  • One braille eraser (optional)
  • Any items which have been pre-approved as an accommodation

There will be a short break between sections. You are responsible for supplying any drinks or snacks, but neither will be allowed in the testing room.
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Prohibited Items

Any items not directly related to taking the exam must be left outside the testing area. Any questions regarding acceptable equipment or accommodations should be addressed to the NBPCB office prior to the test date.
None of the following items are permitted at any time:

  • Lap top computer
  • Electronic braille note taking equipment
  • Cell phone
  • Camera
  • Recording device
  • No reference materials are allowed other than those provided by NBPCB during the exam
  • Other print or braille materials (All braille paper will be supplied by NBPCB.)

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Exam Results

All examinations will be evaluated by a panel of qualified test scorers. You will receive an indication of pass or fail for each of the three test sections, as well as an indication of overall performance and an NCUEB certificate, when applicable.
We will e-mail you your scores within 6 weeks of completing the exam. For a fee, we can also send your score report to other institutions which you designate.
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Retesting

If you do not pass all three sections of the test, you have 18 months from the original test date to do so. Only those sections not passed need to be retaken. Retests can be taken at the time of any scheduled test administration.
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Practice Materials

We can provide practice materials which consist of the instructions that should be followed throughout the exam, including those specific to each of the three sections. An answer key is also provided so that you may check your work. You should note that this test preparation material is an accurate representation of the types of tasks that are required of you on the actual exam; however, the length, complexity, and/or format of the exam may differ. You can request practice materials by filling out our order form. There is a $50 fee for either print or braille formats.

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Dates and Locations

To find dates and locations for upcoming NCUEB exams, check our website often, as we are continually adding new test dates and locations. Tests are scheduled in Ruston, Louisiana on a regular basis, and you may also request a specific test administration in your area. For more information about this option, contact us at braille@nbpcb.org.

 

In addition, you may Subscribe to the Braille distribution list http://lists.nbpcb.org/listinfo.cgi/ncueb-nbpcb.org to automatically receive testing opportunity announcements.

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Fees

Following is a list of the applicable fees for certification. Your registration will not be processed if the appropriate fee is not paid in full at the time of registration unless specific arrangements have been made. Fees apply uniformly to initial certification as well as recertification.

  • Professional Testing Fee - $275.00
  • Student Testing Fee* - $275.00 Retest Fees
  • Professional Retesting Fee - $275.00
  • Student Retesting Fee* - $200.75
  • Single Section - $100.00 (each section)
  • Certificate Replacement Fee - $20.00
  • Practice Materials $50

* * Individuals who are current students or recent graduates (within last 6 months) of University Personnel Preparation programs for Special Educators may contact braille@nbpcb.org to see if a discounted rate may be available. The NBPCB reserves the right to make exceptions to student eligibility as well as the right to request proof of current standing.
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Paying Fees

All fees can be paid online by using a Credit Card or PayPal account. You will have the option to pay online as part of the registration process, or you may go to our home page, www.nbpcb.org, and click Online Payment. Fees may also be paid by personal check or money order. These payments should be mailed to:

NBPCB
101 South Trenton Street
Ruston, LA 71270

Return Check Policy
A fee of $25.00 will be charged for any returned check. Fees must then be paid by bank draft or money order. No services will be provided by NBPCB until all fees are paid in full. (Back to Top)

 

Refunds

If you do not wish to take the exam after submitting your registration, 50% of the total fee will be refunded upon request. All other fees are non-refundable.
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Accommodations

If you have a disability that prevents you from taking the test under standard testing conditions, you may request reasonable accommodations. A written request, accompanied by appropriate medical documentation, must be received at the time of registration.
The following accommodations do not require additional documentation:

  • Hand-held magnifier
  • Felt-tip marker
  • Wiki sticks or other tactile place holders
  • Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
  • Additional personal lighting

You are responsible for providing these items along with any other pre-approved accommodations.
If a power source will be required for any accommodation, it is necessary to bring this to our attention at the time of registration.
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Canceling or Stopping the Test

If there are insufficient numbers of individual registered for any testing opportunity, we reserve the right to cancel that test administration, and a full refund will be issued.
You can cancel the examination prior to the test date, but only a 50% refund will be returned. If we must cancel the examination for any reason, you will receive a full refund.
If the test administration has already begun but must be stopped for any of the following reasons, no refunds will be permitted:

  • You do not want to finish the test
  • The time limit is exceeded
  • You are creating a distraction to others
  • Your equipment fails to work properly
  • The test administrator has evidence or adequate suspicion that you are cheating or otherwise manipulating the test

If testing facility conditions deteriorate to a point that negatively impacts the test administration, you will be asked to reschedule without further cost.
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Recertification

We recognize the need for blindness professionals to continue their education and training in order to remain current on innovations and policies in the field. Once your initial five-year certification has lapsed, you must reapply to the NBPCB for recertification in order to maintain active NCUEB status. You can only be recertified by successfully completing a new version of the NCUEB examination.
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Appeal Process

If you feel that you have wrongfully been denied certification, you can appeal this decision. You must submit a letter within 30 days of receiving your examination scores requesting an appeal. Be sure to include a signed statement of the grounds for your appeal and any relevant documentation. The board members of the NBPCB will review all relevant facts and information, and their decision will be binding.
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