On Sept. 26, 1996, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS) contracted with Human Resources Research Organization of Alexandria, Va., to carry out the validation of the Library's recently developed National Literary Braille Competency Test (NLBCT). The test, released for use in 1994, was developed under Library of Congress auspices by a committee of experts at the request of major blind membership organizations in the United States. These groups were concerned that teachers of blind children and adults be skilled users of braille themselves. The test evaluates competency in writing braille with a slate and stylus and with a braillewriter, ability to read braille and knowledge of braille code rules. It is expected to be used to verify the braille skills of teachers.
Human Resources Research is nonprofit corporation engaged in research, development and evaluation in the behavioral and social sciences with application toward improving human performance and organizational effectiveness. The organization was firstestablished at George Washington University in 1951 to carry out human resources research for the army. Its professional staff includes approximately 65 psychologists, statisticians, computer scientists and technicians, and its areas of expertise include performance measurement, job analysis, the development of assessment instruments and methods and certification testing.
The director for the validation process will be Deirdre Knapp, whose experience includes designing and developing certification testing programs and job analyses for national organizations.
Evelyn Rex will be the braille consultant for the NLBCT validation project. Ms. Rex is a braille expert with more than 30 years of experience as a consultant in the education of visually impaired persons. She served as the director and a teacher in a program that she implemented at Illinois State University to educate teachers of visually impaired students. She has also served on committees and task forces to set guidelines and standards for programs and teachers of the visually impaired.
The validation process is divided into two parts. In the first part, the contractors will analyze the literary braille tasks that are performed by teachers in rehabilitation settings, in residential schools and in mainstreamed classrooms and determine the degree to which the NLBCT assesses competency to perform these tasks. In the second part, the contractors will determine the reliability of the four versions of the NLBCT. The test will be administered to at least 200 examinees, and the results will be analyzed to determine reliabilities and standard errors of measurement and also the difficulty and pass-fail decision equivalence for each version.
Human Resources Research will submit recommendations based on the group's analysis. The validation process is expected to take two years.
For further information contact: Frank Kurt Cylke, Director, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20542; telephone:(202) 707-5104; fax (202)707-0712; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.