University of Edinburgh
 

SSC Braille Competency Courses Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long do the braille courses take?
A: The Uncontracted Braille (Grade 1) Course takes a maximum of 3 months and the Contracted Braille (Grade 2) Course 18 months. The courses run continuously from start to finish - holidays are not factored into the timetable.

Q: Can I finish before my completion date?
A: Yes, stage completion dates are issued to all candidates but these can be submitted early and, if passed, candidates can progress through the course more quickly. Some candidates do finish well before their official completion date.

Q: Is it possible to have extra time if needed?
A: In exceptional circumstances extra time can be granted up to a maximum of 6 months. The criteria for such requests are in line with Edinburgh University School of Education and are outlined in the course handbook.

Q: Can I refer to the course materials when sitting the Final Assessment exam?
A. No the Final Assessment exam is an invigilated assessment without the use of reference materials.

Q: Do I need to come to the SSC, Edinburgh, to sit the Final Assessment exam?
A: No, the Final Assessment exam usually takes place at the candidate's place of work. It is the responsibility of the candidate to provide the name and address of the exam invigilator who should be their Line Manager or some other person, designated by their line manger, who is concerned with the maintenance of standards. However, those unable to find a suitable invigilator can come to the SSC to take the assessment and be invigilated by centre staff.

Information for Prospective Candidates

 Information for Prospective Candidates: Uncontracted Braille (Grade 1) Competency Course

Qualification

Scottish Qualification Authority Customised Certificate of Uncontracted Braille

The SSC is the only establishment in Scotland offering an SQA qualification in Uncontracted Braille Competency.

Course

This is a distance learning course consisting of 1 Stage and is broken down into 7 sub-stages. The maximum time for the course is 3 months. The course introduces the uncontracted braille Code, number and simple mathematical signs, in a methodical and structured manner, each sub-stage introducing a number of rules and signs.

To consolidate the learning the teaching of the rules and signs are supported by writing and reading exercises including both flat and raised braille. The course also gives instruction on the use of the brailler and in the layout of braille according to the rules laid down by the UK Association of Accessible Formats (UKAAF).

The candidates work at their own rate, and at the end of the course, submit a two part assessment to the tutor for marking. This assessment covers the work contained in all the sub-stages of the course and takes the form of a writing exercise to be transcribed from print to braille and a braille comprehension reading exercise. On satisfactory completion of this assessment the candidate can then sit the Final Assessment exam.

The exam is completed without reference to teaching materials, and consists of reading and writing exercises in three parts:

  1. transcribe a piece of text into braille
  2. transcribe a number of mathematical equations
  3. a braille comprehension exercise with several questions to be answered in braille.

This is a timed, formal exam invigilated by the candidate's Line Manager or some other person, designated by their line manger, who is concerned with the maintenance of standards. Those unable to find a suitable invigilator may come to the SSC to take the final assessment and be invigilated by centre staff.

Extra time for the course can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and the criteria for such a request are in line with the University of Edinburgh School of Education Policy. This is outlined in the course handbook.

Applications for the course are taken throughout the year, but the maximum number of candidates on the course at any one time is restricted to 10. There is no pre-requisite for acceptance onto the course but candidates must show commitment by successfully completing the assessment according to the date given. Failure to do so can result on candidates being removed from the course.

Clientele

Since this is distance learning course it is available to candidates all over the world. The majority of candidates do however come from the United Kingdom. The course is open to candidates from all walks of life and includes teaching and non-teaching staff, parents, librarians, computer technicians and special needs co-ordinators, to name but a few.

There is no pre-requisite for acceptance onto the course but candidates must show commitment by completing the stage assessment satisfactorily and on time.

Uncontracted Braille Competency Course Contents

Stage 1.1 Letters a, b, c, d ,e

Stage 1.2 Letters f, g, h ,i, j
Punctuation - full stop and capital letter sign

Stage 1.3 Letters k, l, m, n, o

Stage 1.4 Letters p ,q, r, s, t
Punctuation - comma, question mark and apostrophe, quotation marks

Stage 1.5. Letters u, v, w, x, y, z

Stage 1.6 Numeral sign and numbers
Simple mathematical signs
Money

Sub-stage 1.7 Reading and writing exercises
Reading and writing assessments
Revision exercise

 Information for Prospective Candidates: Contracted Braille (Grade 2) Competency Course

Qualification

Scottish Qualification Authority Customised Certificate for Contracted Braille.

The SSC is the only centre in Scotland offering an SQA qualification in Contracted Braille Competency.

This is a distance learning course consisting of 12 stages and the time allocated is 18 months. The course introduces the braille Code in a methodical and structured manner; the first 11 stages introduce a number of rules and signs. Stage 12 is a general revision stage with supplementary exercises; an Appendix contains reference tables and transcripts.

To consolidate learning the teaching of the rules and signs are supported by writing and reading exercises including both flat and raised braille. The course also gives instruction on the use of the brailler and in the layout of braille according to the rules laid down by the UK Association of accessible formats (UKAAF).

Candidates work to their own individual timetable (issued by the tutor), and at the end of each stage submit a two-part assessment to the tutor for marking. This assessment covers the stage contents and takes the form of a writing exercise to be transcribed from print to braille and a braille comprehension exercise. On successful completion of each stage the candidate can then sit the Final Assessment exam.

The final assessment exam is completed without reference to teaching materials, and consists of reading and writing exercises in four parts:

  1. transcribe a piece of text into braille
  2. transcribe a number of mathematical equations
  3. transcribe a composite piece of text, symbols and numbers
  4. a braille comprehension exercise with several questions to be answered in braille

This is a timed (2 hours) formal exam invigilated by the candidate's Line Manager or some other person, designated by their line manger, who is concerned with the maintenance of standards. Those unable to find a suitable invigilator may come to the SSC to take the final assessment and be invigilated by centre staff.

Extra time for the course can only be granted in exceptional circumstances and the criteria for such a request are in line with the University of Edinburgh School of Education Policy. This is outlined in the course handbook.

The course commences on 1st April each year or 1st September if places are available; the maximum intake each year is 20.

Clientele

Since this is distance learning course it is available to candidates from all parts of the world. The majority of candidates do however come from the United Kingdom. The course is open to candidates from all walks of life and includes teaching and non-teaching staff, parents, librarians, computer technicians and special needs co-ordinators, to name but a few.

There is no pre-requisite for acceptance onto the course but candidates must show commitment by successfully completing stage assessments on a regular basis and progressing through the course satisfactorily. Failure to do so can result on candidates being removed from the course.

Contracted Braille (Grade 2) Competency Course Contents

Stage 1

1.1 Letters a b c d e
1.2 Letters f g h i j
Punctuation: full stop and capital indicator
1.3 Letters k l m n o
1.4 Letters p q r s t
Punctuation: comma
1.5 Letters u v w x y z
1.6 Numeral Sign and Numbers
Punctuation: apostrophe

Stage 2

2.1 First Group of Alphabetic Wordsigns: as can do not that it you so
2.2 Second Group of Alphabetic Wordsigns: but go have like will
2.3 Third Group of Alphabetic Wordsigns: every from more people very
2.4 Final Group of Alphabetic Wordsigns: just knowledge quite rather us
2.5 Strong Wordsigns: and for of the with
Punctuation: semicolon

Stage 3

3.1 Strong Contractions: AND, FOR, OF, THE, WITH
Punctuation: exclamation mark, question mark, round brackets
3.2 Strong Contractions with the letter h: CH, GH, SH, TH, WH
Strong Wordsigns with the letter h: CHILD, SHALL, THIS, WHICH
3.3 Two Strong Contractions with e: ED, ER
3.4 Two Strong Contractions with o: OU, OW
OU Strong Wordsign: OUT
Punctuation: colon, quotation marks
3.5 Strong Contractions: ST and AR
ST Strong Wordsign: STILL
Punctuation: hyphen, dash
3.6 Strong Contractions: ING
Choice of Contractions
Contractions in Word Division
Compound Words

Stage 4

4.1 Lower Contractions at the beginning of a word or braille line:
BE, CON, DIS
Shortforms: because, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond
4.2 Lower Contractions in the middle of a word: EA, BB, CC, FF, GG
4.3 Lower Contractions in any part of a word: EN, IN
4.4 Shortforms: about, above, according, across, after, afternoon, afterward, again, against, also, almost, already, altogether, although, always, said, friend, your, must, together, him

Stage 5

5.1 Lower Wordsigns, spaced from all other signs: BE, WERE, HIS, WAS
5.2 Lower Wordsigns, spaced, but may in some cases be in contact with punctuation: ENOUGH, IN
5.3 Shortforms: today, tomorrow, tonight, would, could, should, myself, yourself, himself, herself

Stage 6

6.1 Dot 5 Wordsigns letters d - m: DAY, EVER, FATHER, HERE, KNOW, LORD, MOTHER
6.2 Shortforms: conceive, deceive, conceiving, deceiving, declare, declaring, children, either, good, great, much, such
6.3 Dot 5 Wordsigns with n - u: NAME, ONE, PART, QUESTION, RIGHT, SOME, TIME, UNDER
6.4 Shortforms: first, immediate, its, itself, little, letter, must, necessary, neither, oneself, ourselves
6.5 Last Group of Dot 5 Wordsigns: WORK, YOUNG, THERE, CHARACTER, THROUGH, WHERE, OUGHT
6.6 Shortforms: blind, braille, paid, perceive, receive, quick, perceiving, receiving, perhaps, rejoice, thyself, themselves, rejoicing, together, yourselves

Stage 7

7.1 Initial Wordsigns with Dots 4 and 5: UPON, WORD, THESE, THOSE, WHOSE
7.2 Initial Wordsigns with Dots 4 5 6: CANNOT, HAD, MANY, SPIRIT, WORLD, THEIR

Stage 8

8.1 First Group of Final Letter Groupsigns: ANCE, ENCE, SION, TION, LESS, NESS
8.2 Second Group of Final Letter Groupsigns: OUND, OUNT, ONG, MENT
8.3 Third Group of Final Letter Groupsigns: FUL, ITY
Complete list of Final Letter Groupsigns
Guidelines for Use of Preferred Contractions

Stage 9

9.1 Composite Punctuation Signs:
1) Compound Quote Signs
2) Square Brackets and Curly Brackets or Braces
3) Dash, Long Dash, Underscore
4) Ellipsis
5) Asterisk
6) Ampersand
Summary of Rules on Punctuation

9.2 Order of Braille Composition Signs
Capital indicator
Grade 1 symbol indicator

9.3 Roman Numbers
Proper Names
Print Abbreviations
Oblique or Forward Slash Sign

Stage 10

10.1 Typeforms: italics, bold, underline
10.2 Modifiers: foreign language accents
10.3 Foreign Words
10.4 Poetry Layout
10.5 Word Division

Stage 11

11.1 Numeral Sign
11.2 Fractions
11.3 Decimals
11.4 Mathematical Signs
11.5 Special uses of Numbers and Letters
11.6 Unit Abbreviations
11.7 Reference Abbreviations and Symbols

Stage 12

12.1 General Revision
12.2 Preparation for Final Assessment
12.3 Mock Final Assessment
12.4 Reading Transcriptions
12.5 Supplementary Reading Exercises

Appendix 1 - Reference Tables

Appendix 2 - Transcripts

2a Writing Transcripts
2b Reading Transcripts