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Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)

Updated Memo Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) - Field Trial

To:Principal/Assistant Principal Preparation Programs
From:Heather Peske, Ed.D., Associate Commissioner, Educator Quality
Date:May 6, 2014


In support of continuing efforts to prepare and license effective leaders in Massachusetts, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has begun preparations for a fall 2014 field trial of the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (MA-PAL).

The purpose of the field trial is to assess the validity and reliability of all four performance assessment tasks and the assessment system overall as a means of evaluating candidate readiness for principal licensure. Our goal is to have a high-quality leadership performance assessment system fully on-line and operational by Fall 2015.

Participation in the pilot and field trial provides programs and individual candidates with an exciting opportunity to learn and improve the system prior to full implementation. PAL fully supports and is aligned with your organization's recent efforts to redesign your leadership preparation program. We encourage all programs to make the most of these pilot and field trial experiences.

Field Trial Policy:

  • The field trial will require that all candidates complete all four tasks and be scored by trained scorers (without consequence for their initial license).
  • All principal licensure candidates, regardless of pathway or licensure preparation option, will be required to complete all four tasks beginning September 1, 2014 as part of the field trial.
  • All tasks submitted by May 15, 2015, will be used to conduct validity and reliability analyses of the assessment system and establish cut scores for licensure decisions starting September 2015.
  • All tasks submitted by May 15, 2015 will be scored, but the scores will not be used for licensure decisions.
  • All tasks submitted after May 15, 2015, will be scored and evaluated for the purposes of licensure using the established cut scores beginning in Fall 2015.
  • Candidates may use task work products submitted as part of the fall or spring pilot studies to meet this requirement.
  • Candidates still enrolled in programs after September 1, 2014 (start of the field trial), but completing by December 31, 2014, will be required to complete two of the four tasks.

We strongly urge preparation programs to have candidates try out one MA-PAL assessment task in the spring pilot study to learn more about the assessment system and provide feedback. We recommend that already participating programs (fall pilot) select a new task for candidates to complete as part of the spring pilot. If your program is not already participating, we recommend that you and your faculty select one of the four tasks (see the attached task summaries) for your candidates to pilot as part of the spring pilot.

As you know a leadership preparation program meeting was held on January 17, 2014 at Assumption College. During this meeting, ESE and Bank Street College staff shared information about the assessments, pilot study, and field trial policy and processes, and program participants shared questions and explored program support options.

We will be hosting our next meeting on May 22, 2014 to solicit feedback following the spring pilot, share our preliminary analyses of the fall pilot study results, and discuss next steps for the field trial. We look forward to continuing our work with you on creating a valid and reliable performance assessment system for aspiring leaders.

Last Updated: May 6, 2014
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