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Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)


In partnership with Bank Street College of Education and key stakeholder groups, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education began development of PAL in 2012 after regulations passed in 2011 requiring candidates must demonstrate that they are meeting the Professional Standards for Administrative Leadership by completing a performance assessment for initial license (603.CMR 7.10). Since then, the Department, together with Bank Street, commenced with creating, piloting, and field testing performance assessment tasks that more closely reflect the authentic work of school leaders and will be completed as part of the preparation and licensure pathway. Full implementation of PAL began in fall 2015.

Summary of PAL Tasks

Task 1
Leadership through a Vision for High Student Achievement

Focusing on the two pillars of highly effective schools-the instructional program (curriculum, instruction and assessment) and school culture, a candidate will develop a school vision and improvement plan for one school-based priority area. The candidate will collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on student performance, student and teacher relationships and school culture, select a priority area for focus, document existing school programs, services and practices, and develop a set of goals, objectives and action strategies with input from school leaders and key stakeholder groups.

Task 2
Instructional Leadership for a Professional Learning Culture

A candidate will demonstrate their capacity to foster a professional learning culture to improve student learning, by working with a small group of teachers using structured learning activities to improve the teachers' knowledge and skills. The candidate will support teachers in improving an existing curriculum, instruction, or assessment strategy, while documenting the process, teachers' team work and improved practices.

Task 3
Leadership in Observing, Assessing, and Supporting Individual Teacher Effectiveness

A candidate is to demonstrate instructional leadership skills to plan for a teacher observation, observe, analyze observation and student data, provide feedback and plan support for an individual teacher. A candidate will document his or her work in the observation cycle and teacher feedback on the quality and use of the feedback.

Task 4
Leadership for Family Engagement and Community Involvement

A candidate will develop a proposal and implement one component to improve family engagement and community involvement in a school's priority area, that is related to student achievement or student health, recreation or social needs that impact their learning. A candidate will work collaboratively with a work group representing school leadership, staff, families and community members, and students to select a priority area based on evidence on student needs, gather information related to family engagement and community involvement needs, develop a proposal and implement one component with work group support.

Last Updated: January 25, 2017
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