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The Development of Accepted Performance Items to Demonstrate Competence in Literary Braille
Abstract: Structured Abstract: Introduction: This research attempted to establish the content validity of several performance statements that are associated with basic knowledge, production, and reading of braille by beginning teachers. Methods: University instructors (n = 21) and new teachers of students with visual impairments (n = 20) who had taught at least 2 braille students participated in parallel Delphi studies to determine if a consensus could be achieved on a series of statements that are thought to describe competence in literary braille by individuals who are completing university programs. The participants were also asked to identify with what degree of accuracy these competencies should be demonstrated and what kinds of reference materials should be available when demonstrating competence. The acceptable level of consensus was set at 85%. Three iterations of the Delphi method were completed; the university instructors also participated in a clarification round. Results: Seven performance statements on which a consensus was reached with regard to levels of accuracy and use of references were supported by both instructors and practitioners. Differences between the instructors and practitioners in the recommendation of the type of reference materials available when demonstrating competence would have to be resolved for 7 additional statements to be acceptable, while differences in the recommendation of the level of accuracy that should be demonstrated would have to be resolved for 2 other performance statements to be recommended. Proposed competencies related to skill with a slate and stylus and in the use of braille-emulation programs were not supported. Implications for practitioners: The identification of content-valid performance standards establishes a stronger research base on which to create voluntary standards for defining the braille competence of students who complete university programs. The adoption of such standards has the potential to reduce inconsistencies among programs and to increase the proficiency of program completers in braille.
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