Frequently Asked Questions About the ETS® Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL)

Technical Help

What if I need technical support or have questions about how the online submission system works?

Our goal in designing the ETS® Performance Assessments online submission system was to make it as intuitive as possible for you to author and submit your tasks. Technical help and information are available via:

Email: ppa@ets.org
Phone: 1-609-359-5634 or 1-855-628-5088
Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET (except for U.S. holidays)

You should also refer to the Submission System User Guide and Resolving Technical Issues page for additional assistance.

About the Assessment

What is the ETS® Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) and do I need to take it?

The ETS Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL) consists of three tasks. Each of the three tasks takes place during your clinical experience and focuses on addressing a problem/challenge, developing continuous professional development, and building a collaborative culture. During the clinical experience, your internship provides a variety of artifacts, including student work, observation feedback, and video segments that will be submitted as part of the tasks.

The PASL assessment is one of several vehicles that may determine if you are prepared to enter the field of administration. If it’s required, you take it during your clinical experience prior to exiting your educator preparation program. Your score for this assessment is one of the factors that may determine your acceptance into the profession. Check with your educator preparation program to determine if you are required to take the assessment.

How long will it take me to complete the PASL assessment?

The assessment will be administered twice per year during pre-established submission windows. You have approximately two months to upload and submit your task responses in the online submission system.

How will I find time to complete the PASL assessment while interning?

This assessment was specifically designed with time management in mind, as the tasks are embedded into the actual clinical experience. Any authentic, school-based activities that reflect effective leadership and demonstrate student learning, provided that they address the task requirements and guiding prompts, are eligible for submission.

Are classroom observations required as part of the PASL assessment?

Yes, observation is required as part of Task 2. You may use the Walk-Through Observation Form available on the Prepare page of this website, or you may devise a template of your own.

I work in a nontraditional building. Do I need to do anything differently for my three tasks?

No. The requirements for each PASL task enable candidates in a wide variety of situations and settings to respond successfully. The tasks are not specific to a single building's situation. You can address all of the requirements regardless of your setting.

How involved should the building administration be in the creation of my assessment?

With each of your task activities, you should work with your building administration, keeping the administrator(s) apprised of what you are doing so you can ensure that what you are doing is appropriate. The support of your building's administration, especially in terms of the resources administrators may provide, is an important part of the success you want to achieve.

How do I get started building my PASL tasks?

Begin by reading through the task directions to get a sense of how you will build your PASL response. You may use the Plan Template as a guide for each task and then begin with the task that seems most appropriate to you, probably Task 1 or Task 2, because neither requires a video. Your cooperating educator preparation program instructor and supervising administrator are good sources of guidance as you get organized.

How should I make use of the rubric? I know it is part of the scoring system, but can it help me as I work on my portfolio?

Absolutely! Keep the rubric for each task nearby as you work. The rubrics for each task are included on the task requirements page. When you finish a draft of a task, read the rubric and ask yourself whether you have provided adequate evidence that addresses each bullet at the highest score point. Ask a trusted colleague to serve as your scorer and provide you with additional feedback.

Registration

How do I register for this assessment?

See Register.

What if I miss the registration deadline?

If you miss the registration deadline, you must register for the next submission window. You may want to confer with your educator preparation program (EPP) for appropriate next steps.

How do I cancel my registration and receive a refund?

To learn about canceling your registration and receiving a refund, see Cancel Your Registration.

I spelled my name incorrectly, or my name has changed. How do I correct this?

Only misspellings of your name can be corrected. Contact a Customer Service representative for assistance.

How is my information used by the testing program?

Your biographical information is used to gather information for research purposes and to further ensure the validity and fairness of the test questions. See our Privacy and Security policy at the bottom of each page.

The Tasks

When may I begin work on my assessment?

As soon as you have registered, you may begin work on your assessment. You will have access to the secure website seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Before beginning, you should make sure to check the submission schedule.

How should I start building my PASL assessment tasks?

Begin by reading through the task directions to get a sense of how you will build your response. You may use the Plan Template as a guide for each task and then begin with the task that seems most appropriate to you, probably Task 1 or Task 2, because neither requires a video. As you complete your first task, you will become familiar with the submission system and with the building to which you are assigned. Your cooperating EPP instructor and supervising administrator are good sources of guidance as you get organized.

For more information, see the PASL Candidate Handbook and Building and Submitting Your Tasks.

How should I organize my work schedule?

After reviewing the task directions, develop a timeline working backward from the tasks' submission deadlines to set a manageable schedule for yourself.

For more information, see the PASL Candidate Handbook.

How should I make use of the rubric? I know it is part of the scoring system, but can it help me as I work on my portfolio?

Yes. Keep the rubric for each task nearby as you work. The rubrics for each task are included on the task requirements page. When you finish a draft of a task, read the rubric and ask yourself whether you have provided adequate evidence that addresses each bullet at the highest score point. Ask a trusted colleague to serve as your scorer and provide you with additional feedback.

May I use my own permission form — rather than the PASL Student and Adult Release Forms — to gain student and parent consent to include materials in my tasks?

No. You must use the PASL approved permission forms for the inclusion of any student and adult work in your task responses. You must scan and upload the signed permission forms to ETS via the online submission system when you submit your task responses. Submission of tasks will not be permitted if permission forms are not uploaded.

Do I need to submit the Student and Adult Release Forms I collect?

Yes. You must scan and upload the signed permission forms to ETS via the online submission system when you submit your tasks. See the Submission System User Guide for details on how to upload the permission forms.

Is there a maximum character limit to the tasks?

Yes. Each task has a specified character limit. A character is counted as every letter, every punctuation mark and every space you type. As you are typing your written commentary, an automatic counter at each textbox shows you how many characters you have used for your entire response out of the allowable number. You cannot save or submit any task that exceeds the maximum character limit. Therefore, you may need to edit your response before submitting a task.

Keep in mind that the character count guideline per task is intended to be an outside limit — not a target. You should communicate the substance of your evidence within the maximum character count limit, and you should not assume that a longer task submission equals a better score.

Why does the PASL online character counter display a count that is different from the count provided by my word processing program?

To ensure fairness for all test takers, the PASL online submission system automatically standardizes all type that is input into the system. Font, margins and line height are all automatic. The online character counter at each textbox is a helpful tool. A character is counted as every letter, every punctuation mark, and every space you type. Your word processing program may define characters in an alternate way, but the PASL online character counter is the only official character counter for your PASL tasks.

Are there penalties for accidentally answering a guiding prompt in the wrong place or including a student's name or the name of my school?

No. Raters are trained to collect evidence wherever they find it, as long as it has been included with that particular task.

You should not use any identifying names or titles. These include, but are not limited to, names of:

  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Administrators
  • Schools
  • Districts

In order for your responses to be scored fairly and to protect the identity of students and adults, it is extremely important that you:

  • do not identify yourself
  • your students
  • your colleagues
  • your school
  • the city/town in which your school is located.

To avoid these issues, you should correctly answer the guiding prompts by:

  • referring to students as "Student 1," "Student 2" and so on
  • referring to places as "my school" or "my district"
  • removing identifiers from artifacts by crossing them out with a marker or by covering them with correction tape or fluid
Am I required to link to my artifacts each time I refer to them in my response?

No. Best practice is to link the artifact to your written commentary only once within the textbox where the artifact is required.

Can I submit more than the required number of artifacts for a task?

No. Each task has a specific number of artifacts that you are required to submit.

  • Do not exceed the required number of artifacts.
  • Do not link those required artifacts multiple times within your response.
  • Do not exceed the maximum page limit for each artifact.
  • Do not link additional artifacts that are not required by the task.

The rater scoring your response is trained to look at and value only that which is required by this assessment. Refer to each of the task's directions for a list of the required artifacts and the maximum number of pages allowed for each.

If my contextual information is the same for each of these tasks, may I just copy and paste my information into all three tasks?

Yes. You may copy the data to all three tasks. Each of the tasks are scored by different raters, which is why the contextual information needs to be repeated. The raters of one task never see the information provided with the other tasks.

What kinds of research are appropriate to provide?

Research results should be specific to the intent and spirit of each task; therefore, each research activity should center on verifiable scholarly work found in respected educational sources, which you must cite appropriately.

How do I select the evidence for my tasks?

You are required to submit different types of evidence for each of the tasks. Each task requires some form of a written response — this is part of your evidence. In addition, tasks may require other types of evidence, such as a plan, anecdotal notes from colleagues and student work samples.

Make sure that you clearly understand what type of evidence is required for each task. If an artifact is required for a textbox, make sure you include one that:

  • does not exceed the maximum page limit
  • addresses the prompts being measured
  • gives you a good opportunity to discuss what was done with colleagues to generate that work
  • provides the rater scoring your response with a picture of your practice and with good information on which to score your performance
When I select a problem-solving topic for Task 1, may I choose to work on the topic of faculty attendance?

Unless this problem is the singular problematic concern in your building, it is best to avoid issues related to faculty behavior. Your brief and temporary experience in this building is best served by focusing on issues primarily related to instructional practice that directly affects student learning.

When choosing colleagues to work with in all three tasks, what professional characteristics should I consider?
  • Look for colleagues who most closely reflect the values you wish to emulate as a building leader and who embody the intended characteristics of the task(s) at hand.
  • Consult with your building supervisor/mentor to discuss these traits before asking any colleague to join your team.
  • Be mindful of colleagues' schedules, workloads and extracurricular activities that might impede their full participation in the intended tasks.
Do the colleagues I choose to work with have to be different for each of the three tasks?

It is possible that there may be an overlap in some cases, but try to choose different colleagues for each of the tasks. The colleagues with whom you work in Task 1 to problem solve probably possess different skill sets than the colleagues who are the focus of the professional development in Task 2.

If there are other school leader candidates in my building, may I work with them on any of the tasks?

There may be other school leader candidates in your building, and you may choose to work with them on various activities. However, the written responses that you submit must be your own and represent your own description, analysis, and reflection in response to each of the guiding prompts. Artifacts, especially those dealing with feedback, should be your own.

Regarding artifacts, what constitutes a representative page?

As you determine what specific artifacts you will make use of in each task, you might want to collect several pages of each document. As an example, your draft plan may be four pages. However, you can only submit the required number of pages; in this case the required number is two. From the pages you collected, choose the two pages that provide the greatest amount of evidence that addresses the guiding prompts and the rubric. These are the representative pages.

What is the Walk-through Observation Form?

Use the Walk-through Observation Form to record evidence that you capture during an informal walk-through of a classroom featuring a lesson related to the professional development topic that is the focus of Task 2. You can submit a form of your choosing, but the form should still be focused on the connection between the activities and the professional development.

How do I select the specific three teachers required in Task 2?

Work with your EPP instructor and your building supervisor to select the colleagues with whom you feel most comfortable and who meet the experiential requirements listed in Task 2. In addition, be mindful of each teacher's potential availability during your entire internship.

Is the feedback required for Task 3 the same as the feedback needed for the Post-Professional Development Feedback Form in Task 2?

No. The feedback required for Task 3 is an essential part of the collaborative process, while the feedback in Task 2 comes after the Professional Development activity has been implemented. The feedback for Task 3 should influence the entire decision-making process from plan development, to plan implementation within the building and the determination of its impact on instruction and learning.

In Task 3, am I supposed to work with more than one group of colleagues?

Yes. There are two groups of colleagues with whom you should work. First, establish and work with a collaborative team. This team, under your leadership, is responsible for planning and implementing activities to improve instructional practice and enhance student learning. As part of the process of improving practice and enhancing learning, the team will identify and work with a target audience of colleagues with whom you and the team will work to develop an area of research-based practice. Remember, it is your work with the collaborative team that is the real focus of Task 3.

Do I have the option of submitting a five-minute video for textbox 3.2.2 and textbox 3.3.1?

No. You have the option of using one five-minute video segment for either textbox 3.2.2 OR textbox 3.3.1. This video must be no longer than five minutes and must be combined with your 10-minute video for textbox 3.4.1 as part of the complete 15-minute video artifact submission for Task 3. You may use evidence from the video to support your responses to the guiding prompts for whichever textbox you decide to submit the five-minute video. The video file is uploaded in Task 3, Step 5.

Is the 10-minute video for textbox 3.4.1 optional?

No. You must submit a 10-minute video segment as part of textbox 3.4.1 (Self-Reflection and Feedback). Be sure that this video does not exceed 10 minutes and that your total video submission does not exceed the maximum limit of 15 minutes. Failure to submit the video will result in a zero for step 4.

Submissions

How do I submit the video recordings as part of my evidence for Task 3?

The entire process for recording, analyzing and submitting video is documented in the PASL Candidate and Educator Handbook. To summarize:

  • First get a permission form from any teacher you will record.
  • Check the quality and reliability of any equipment you intend to use.
  • Carefully select the teachers you will observe and record.
  • Carefully plan both the practice and final recording sessions around the teachers' schedules and their respective teaching and building responsibilities.
  • Follow the video upload requirements in the submission system.

For more information, see Videos.

Once my task has been submitted, will I receive a confirmation email?

Yes. You will receive an email confirmation at the email address you entered when you created your online account. You can also verify that your task has been submitted by viewing the Status column on the task chart on your assessment home page. A status of "Completed" means that the task has been submitted.

Will I be able to make changes to my response after I have submitted it?

No. Once a task has been submitted, you can no longer make changes. Your response is viewable in a read-only format.

Does the five-minute video need to include every member of the collaborative team, or can it include only a small group?

The five-minute video does not have to include everyone on the collaborative team, only those colleagues who are participating in the specific activity that is the focus of video.

Does the video have to be a total of exactly 15 minutes?

The full video can be no longer than 15 minutes. That means you could submit a video with fewer minutes, if you choose. Because your video will contain segments, please be aware that each segment cannot exceed five or 10 minutes, respectively. You may, if you choose, have fewer than five or 10 minutes as needed.

How do I select the most appropriate student artifacts for Task 2?

Your selection depends on the student work artifacts that your colleagues collect and that are directly related to and address the guiding prompts in Task 2. These artifacts should be appropriate and germane to what the task is asking.

What if the student work is in a foreign language?

If the student work is in a foreign language, provide a translation that can be within the same artifact document as the original student work. The translation does not count against your artifact page limit.

Should I include names of any students, parents or school officials in my submissions?

No. Do not include any names. Refer to students as "Student 1," "Student 2" and so on. Refer to colleagues as "my cooperating teacher," "my principal" or "Colleague 1," "Colleague 2" and so on.

If I want to strengthen my writing skills, what do you recommend?

The tasks in the PASL require three kinds of writing: descriptive, analytic and reflective. There are obvious essential differences among these three types of writing. As you compose your written commentary, keep these differences in mind. For more information, see Writing and Formatting Guidelines in the PASL Candidate and Educator Handbook.

If I submit more than the required number of pages for an artifact, which pages will be read by a rater?

If you submit more than the required number of pages for your artifact, the rater will read only the required number. If the requirement is one page, then the rater is trained to read only the first page.

May I include a slide-show presentation as evidence? If so, how many slides may I submit?

Yes. Slide-show presentations are acceptable forms of evidence. You may submit up to six slides on a single page.

If I include a double-sided document as evidence, does each sheet count as one page or two?

Two. The rater will look at both pages only if the artifact requirement allows you to submit two pages. Raters are trained to look at only the first page of a multipage attachment when the artifact requirements allow only one page to be submitted.

If I want to submit pictures, may I place more than one on a page?

Yes, but the pictures must relate to the same subject/topic/event and have appropriate captions. Raters are instructed to disregard photos if they have been resized to an extent that they are no longer viewable.

May I submit more than one newspaper article on a page?

Yes, as long as the articles refer to the same subject/topic/event. You may reduce the font size of the articles so that they fit on the same page. However, if you reduce them to the extent that they are no longer readable, raters are instructed to disregard them.

If I pass the assessment, but would like a higher score on one of my tasks, may I resubmit a task?

You may resubmit a task if you are unsuccessful in passing the entire assessment based on the cumulative score. If you pass the assessment, resubmission is not an option.

Scores

Who scores my tasks?

Each of your tasks are scored by raters who do not know you personally. Raters are current administrators or have been administrators within the last four years. In addition, raters could be faculty unknown to you within your state's school leader university programs. Each task is scored by raters who are knowledgeable about the task requirements and rubrics. A rater scores no more than one task submitted by a candidate; therefore, your three tasks are scored by no fewer than three raters.

When are my scores available?

See Getting Your Scores.

What information will be included on my score report?

See Understanding Your Scores.

How do I access my scores online?

View your scores in your online account. See Getting Your Scores.

If I pass the assessment but would like a higher score on one of my tasks, may I resubmit a task?

Resubmission becomes an option when you are unsuccessful in passing the entire assessment based on the cumulative score. If you pass the assessment, resubmission is not an option.

Who gets a copy of my score report?

Your score report is automatically sent to:

  • the EPP that you selected at registration
  • up to four score recipients that you selected at registration

Resubmission

If I do not receive a passing score, can I resubmit any tasks?

You may resubmit one, two or three tasks for a fee. See Resubmission.

Will raters know my scores from previously scored tasks?

No, raters will have no idea what the scores were for the task when it was initially scored.

How much revision needs to be done for a resubmitted task?

For each of the three tasks, the topic of the resubmitted task may be the same as the topic of the task submission when it was initially submitted. However, the analysis and reflection should represent revised work.

What happens if I don't score as well on a resubmitted task?

The task with the highest task score — whether it was earned on the initial submission or on the resubmitted task — will always be used to determine your cumulative assessment score.