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Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)

Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) Scoring

To:Organizations with Principal/Assistant Principal Preparation Programs
From:Liz Losee, Assistant Director, Educator Effectiveness
Date:December 17, 2015


Based on the recommendations of the PAL Technical Advisory and Standards Setting committees, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education has established the performance assessment standards for PAL, resulting in two components of scoring that a candidate must meet or exceed:

  1. The minimum threshold score (cut score) for each task of 2.1 (on a 4-point scale), and
  2. A total passing score for Program Year 2015-16, of 2.5 (on a 4-point scale). Beginning with Program Year 2016-17, the total passing score will shift to 2.75. The 2.5 total passing score is used in 2015-16 only, in order to support the first year of full implementation for PAL and efforts made by the field and leadership candidates to adapt to this new assessment.

TasksThreshold score per taskTotal passing score:
Total passing score:
Beginning in 2016-17
Task 12.1  
Task 22.1  
Task 32.1  
Task 42.1  
Total 2.52.75

A candidate's overall task score is based on an average of the indicator scores for that task. A candidate's total PAL score is based on an average of the four tasks' overall scores.

Candidates' work that only meets the minimum threshold scores (2.1) for each of the four tasks will not obtain a total passing score of 2.5 or above for the PAL assessment. If a candidate does not meet or exceed the total passing score of 2.5, he/she may select which tasks to revise and resubmit to improve his/her overall score performance.

To determine which task(s) to revise and resubmit a candidate should review his/her total PAL score and its distance from the overall passing score, as well as review a pattern of task scores to identify strengths and weaknesses. If the candidate's performance is consistent and close to the overall cut score, he/she may choose to select just one task to revise and resubmit. It is strongly recommended that the candidate select the task with the lowest score to retake in this case. If the candidate's performance is consistent but far from the total passing score (2.5 this year), then he/she is advised to select two or more tasks to revise. If the candidate's scores are inconsistent across the four tasks—with one or two strong scores—he/she may choose to revise the task(s) with the lower scores that would most likely improve his/her total PAL score on the assessment.

Because there are two score components, candidates will have access to two score reports. The first is a threshold score report for each individual task submission. This report shows the task score and whether it meets the threshold requirement; from this report, candidates will also be able to access any feedback based on indicators and rubric ratings. The second is the candidate's total score report, which shows whether he/she passed the PAL assessment by earning a total score that met or exceeded the total passing score.

To prepare to revise and resubmit work, candidates should check their work products against the most recent rubrics (for the current Program Year), as well as the page and video length requirements in the task instructions to determine whether they meet these expectations.

Lastly, our partner, Bank Street College of Education, is currently seeking scorers for PAL. If you are interested in becoming a scorer, please visit MA PAL: Scorers for more information on the scoring process and to complete the brief online application.

To access the most up-to-date resources, including the Candidate Assessment Guide, FAQ's, and other materials to assist in the support of your candidates, please visit MA PAL. As always, please send any questions or comments to our PAL mailbox at:

Last Updated: December 22, 2015
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