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Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)

Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) Implementation

To:Massachusetts School and District Administrators
From:Heather Peske, Associate Commissioner for Educator Effectiveness
Date:October 14, 2015


This week, ESE launched full implementation of the Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL). All principal and assistant principal candidates seeking licensure are now required to complete and pass four performance tasks that closely reflect the work of school leaders.

Candidates are now able to register for PAL and to upload their task work products to be scored. Resources are available on the PAL website as well.

As we transition from the field test to full implementation, if a school district wants to hire a principal candidate who lacks the PAL requirement for his/her license, the district can apply for a waiver from the Commissioner exempting the school district for one school year from the requirement to employ licensed personnel. Waivers are generally required for individuals whose license is not yet approved. Instructions for applying for an educator licensure waiver can be found on the Set-up to Request a Waiver for Educator Licensure page.

To support school leaders who are mentoring principal/assistant principal candidates, ESE staff and the Principal Advisory Cabinet developed the PAL Toolkit for School Leader Mentors, which is available on our website. This toolkit provides some brief overviews about the assessment, convenient references to PAL resources, and descriptions of what PAL looks like in a school during implementation. This toolkit, along with other resources and information regarding PAL, is available on our website.

PAL was developed in partnership with Bank Street College of Education and key stakeholder groups. In 2013-2014, the Department piloted and field tested the performance assessment tasks that make up PAL. In the 2015-2016 year of implementation, all work products will be scored using the revised rubrics. Tasks are available by accessing the new "Sign Up to Learn More" feature on Candidates are responsible for reviewing their work against the updated expectations before submitting them for scoring. All task work products must meet cut scores, which will be set by the Commissioner in November 2015, at which point scoring of task submissions will commence.

We appreciate your support of principal candidates as they complete the PAL tasks as part of their field based experience and licensure requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, please email:

Last Updated: December 21, 2015
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