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Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)

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Policies

Please review the following polices about your participation in Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL). You will be required to indicate that you have had an opportunity to review them prior to registering and prior to submitting your work.

Please contact us if you have any questions about any of these policies or about the Pearson ePortfolio system.

PAL Policies for Candidate Participation

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Registration Policies

Assessment Fees and Payment Information

Assessment fees. Candidates are required to register and pay for each task separately. The assessment fee for each task is $107.

The assessment fee payment covers the costs of administration of the PAL, including submission processing, scoring, and score reporting.

The PAL assessment fee is valid for two years from the time of initial fee payment and registration. Candidates have two years from their registration date to complete and submit work for the task. After the two-year period, the candidate's registration will expire and they will receive no refund or credit of any kind. Candidates will receive a system and email notification within 30 days and again within 10 days of their registration expiration date.

Payment information. Assessment fees must be paid using a credit card (VISA or MasterCard only) or a debit or check card that carries the VISA or MasterCard logo and that can be used without the entry of a personal identification number (PIN), and/or with a voucher code supplied by the candidate's program provider. Bank cards without a VISA or MasterCard logo cannot be accepted. The merchant name that will appear on your credit card statement is "Eval Systems Test Fee."

Vouchers. Vouchers may be available through your program provider. Please check with your faculty advisor for information about eligibility requirements. If you obtain a voucher, you must enter your voucher code into the system during the registration process. Vouchers cannot be applied retroactively to existing registrations.

Payment Policy

If you have any outstanding balance owed for your PAL registrations after the score reporting date associated with the date you submitted your task, your scores for that task may be permanently voided and therefore not reported to you, to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or to any program provider or organization.

The following policies apply to you when you have an outstanding balance for PAL registration or services:

  • You will be assessed a $20 fee to cover the processing required to clear your account.
  • You will not be allowed to register for future tasks until your balance, which includes the additional fee, is paid in full.
  • Any credits or refunds for which you may be eligible will be applied first to your outstanding debt, with any excess to be returned to you.

If a credit card charge for a PAL registration or service for you is disputed:

  • You may not be allowed to make any future payments by credit card.
  • You must make your payment to clear your account by cashier's check or money order only.
  • If you attempt to pay for any further services by cashier's check or money order before clearing your account, any payments received will be applied first to your outstanding debt, with any excess applied to the requested services.
Changing Your Registration

If you wish to update your answers to any background question(s) you provided during registration, you may do so through your account at any time before submitting your task. If you wish to change the task for which you are registered, you must withdraw and register for the appropriate task.

Withdrawal/Refund Policy

Withdrawal/Refund Policy

If you have registered for PAL, have not yet submitted a task for scoring, and would like to withdraw your registration for a task, you may do so by logging in to your account on this website, selecting Current Registrations, then Withdraw, and following the instructions provided.

If you withdraw your registration before any work has been submitted, you are eligible for a refund minus a processing fee of $70 if the request is made within two years of your registration date. Your refund will be issued by Evaluation Systems within four weeks of the receipt of your request. If you do not withdraw before the two year window has expired, you will not receive a refund or credit of any kind.

If you applied a voucher toward your fee when you registered, you will receive no refund or credit of the voucher amount. If you submitted work for a task, you will not be eligible for a refund for that task. Once you withdraw your registration, you will no longer be able to view or edit that task in the Pearson system. Be sure to save your files prior to withdrawing your registration. If you elect to take a PAL task in the future, you will need to re-register and pay for the full task registration fee.

Assessment Policies

Rules of Assessment Participation

Massachusetts PAL Rules of Assessment Participation

By registering for PAL, you are agreeing to abide by the current Rules of Assessment Participation for PAL and all procedures and policies contained on the current www.ma-pal.nesinc.com website and/or in the current PAL Candidate Assessment Handbook.

1. PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT: I understand that this assessment is administered for the purpose of fulfilling a requirement for state principal licensure and is only to be taken by individuals to fulfill this requirement. I certify that I am taking this assessment for which I have registered for the purpose of initial school principal/assistant school principal licensure.

2. CONFIRMATION OF ORIGINALITY: I understand that by submitting my PAL materials, I am confirming either A or B:

A.

1. I am the sole author of the submissions, including written artifacts, video artifacts and commentary unless one or more of my submissions is the product of a collaboration as described in B. below.

2. I am the person who has completed the assessment and all of the submitted task work products, and I clearly explain my role in leading the teachers, staff, and other individuals for the four tasks that comprise this assessment.

3. The video clips submitted show the class I observed and my post-observation conference with the teacher about the class I observed; the materials and student work included as other documents are related to the class I observed and were completed during the observation or other lessons in the same unit of study documented in this assessment.

4. I have not shared my submissions with any other candidate or potential candidate of PAL.

5. I have attributed all materials in the assessment whose sources are from published text, the internet, or any other source, including other educators. I have identified the sources for documents included in my task submission and acknowledged authorship for documents that were created by me or other individuals or organizations.

B.

1. In the event that I am collaborating with any other individual in any aspect of PAL, I have identified any and all points of collaboration with any other individual[s]; included the rationale or purpose of the collaboration; clearly stated my role in the collaboration and the role[s] of my collaborators; and attest that my submissions, including written artifacts and commentary are entirely my own original product and not the product of anyone else.

2. The video clips submitted show the class I observed and my post-observation conference with the teacher about the class I observed; the materials and student work included as other documents are related to the class I observed and were completed during the observation or other lessons in the same unit of study documented in this assessment.

3. I have not shared my submissions with any other candidate or potential candidate of PAL.

4. I have attributed all materials in the assessment whose sources are from published text, the internet, or any other source, including other educators. I have identified the sources for documents included in my task submission and acknowledged authorship for documents that were created by me or other individuals or organizations.

3. PERMISSIONS AND CONFIDENTIALITY: I have protected the identity of people featured in my submission by removing any identifiable information including the name(s) of my district, school, institution, faculty, staff, and students. I understand that I am responsible for obtaining appropriate consents from the teacher(s) and parents/guardians of the students who appear on the video clips I submit. I agree to maintain such consents according to my preparation program policy for retaining them. I have ensured confidentiality of individuals appearing in the video clips I submit by uploading the video only to the designated Pearson ePortfolio system. I understand that I may use my assessment materials according to the parameters of the release forms obtained for children and/or adults who appear in the video. I will not display videos publicly (i.e., personal websites, YouTube, Facebook) without express written permission for this purpose from the adults and students featured in the video.

4. DISTRIBUTION AND POSTING OF ASSESSMENT MATERIALS: I acknowledge that I am not permitted to reproduce any of the information or materials from the PAL handbooks for commercial purposes or otherwise display publicly (i.e., personal websites, YouTube, Facebook). If I do reproduce information or materials from the PAL handbooks for personal use, I will properly attribute the copyright of such materials to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (the Department or DESE) and authorship to Bank Street College of Education.

5. USE OF ASSESSMENT: I agree that my PAL submission, including text, images, and video or audio recordings, without the use of my name or other identifying information, may be used by Pearson or other entities authorized by DESE for PAL program development and implementation. If I provided consent as part of my response to registration questions, my submission, without use of my name or other identifying information, may also be used for continued PAL program activities conducted by authorized entities such as future validity and reliability studies and other assessment-related research of the PAL. These authorized entities will not show candidate materials publicly, make them available in a non-secure way, or use them as exemplars for marketing purposes.

6. LIABILITY OF VENDORS AND DEPARTMENT REGARDING PAL: I understand and agree that the liability for assessment activities, including but not limited to the adequacy or accuracy of assessment materials, the registration processes, scoring, score report accuracy, and information provided to me in connection with PAL, will be limited to score confirmation or PAL retake. I understand and agree that liability for data loss or file corruption associated with my PAL submission will be limited to an additional PAL submission. To the extent allowed by Massachusetts law, I waive any and all rights to all other claims, specifically including but not limited to claims for negligence arising out of any acts or omissions of Pearson and/or the Department (including the agents, employees, contractors, or professional advisors of Pearson and the Department).

7. CHANGES TO PROGRAM OR PROCEDURES: I understand that the PAL assessment and associated policies and procedures are subject to change at the sole discretion of Pearson (with Department approval) and/or the Department. The Department may make changes to their policies and requirements related to the PAL at their discretion.

8. COMPLIANCE WITH PROCEDURES: I understand that if I fail to comply with the rules, requirements, submission requirements and policies specified on the current www.ma-pal.nesinc.com website, including these Rules of Assessment Participation, or if I take any prohibited actions, or if my submitted artifacts, commentary videos, and/or other documents do not comply with the current rules and submission requirements as specified, my submission or portions thereof may not be scored, my results may be voided, my registration may be canceled, and I may be prohibited in the future from registering for PAL. In addition, I understand that assessment fraud may be grounds for denial, revocation, suspension or other sanction of any educator license issued by the Department. Legal proceedings and actions may be pursued as well as other remedies deemed appropriate by Pearson, or the Department, as appropriate. If my submission cannot be scored due to a system error upon submission, I will have the opportunity to resubmit my assessment materials. I understand that my submitted assessment materials, or a portion thereof, may be reviewed by authorized individuals at the Department in order to investigate compliance with the Rules of Assessment Participation, as needed.

9. RULES: I understand that should any of these rules or any other requirement or provision contained on the current www.ma-pal.nesinc.com website be declared or determined by any court to be illegal or invalid, the remaining rules, requirements, and provisions will not be affected and the illegal or invalid rule, requirement, or provision shall not be deemed a part of the current PAL website. The headings of each of the Rules of Assessment Participation for PAL are for convenient reference only. They are not a part of the rules themselves; they do not necessarily reflect the entire subject matter of each rule; and they are not intended to be used for the purpose of modifying, interpreting, or construing any of these Rules of Assessment Participation for PAL. I agree that any legal action arising in connection with my registration for or participation in PAL shall be brought in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and federal courts and I consent to the personal jurisdiction of such courts.

Confidentiality Guidelines

Candidates must abide by the "Candidate Confidentiality Guidelines for Video Recording" as contained in the PAL Candidate Assessment Handbook

Confidentiality and Security of Materials

Confidentiality and Security of PAL Candidate Materials and Assessment Data

This information, prepared by Pearson and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), describes the policies and procedures related to the confidentiality and security of candidate PAL submissions and assessment data for each phase of the process:

  • Pre-Submission of Assessment Materials for Scoring
  • Upload and Storage of the Assessment Materials
  • Post-Submission and Scoring

This information applies to Pearson and DESE handling of materials and data for candidates who register for PAL at http://www.ma-pal.nesinc.com and submit their assessment for official scoring.

PAL candidates own the content they create and submit for each PAL submission. Neither DESE nor Pearson owns the candidates' PAL submissions.

The use of the portfolio videos by candidates is restricted by the parameters of the consent forms obtained for children and/or adults who appear in the videos. Videos should NOT be displayed publicly because they are an artifact for the assessment.

Pre-Submission of Assessment Materials for Scoring

Prior to candidate submission of PAL assessment materials for scoring, the PAL website provides information for candidates related to the creation, review and handling of candidate assessment materials, including video recordings. The Confidentiality Guidelines and Video Permissions can be accessed via the policies page on the PAL website and should be reviewed.

These guidelines address the need to maintain confidentiality of video participants and direct candidates to obtain appropriate permission from parents/guardians for students who appear in video recordings and from adults who appear in video recordings. In order to assist candidates in obtaining the appropriate releases, the PAL website includes information describing the nature of the assessment and how assessment materials may be used. Model Consent Forms are also provided for reference. Candidates should consult with their program for other specific information that may be required to include in the release form.

Authorized Access

Only candidates have the ability to access their task submissions once uploaded to the ePortfolio system. Program faculty will not have the ability to access or view candidate work in the ePortfolio system and should refer to the Administrative Field Guide for Leadership Preparation Programs for guidance on acceptable support for candidates. While candidates own the content they create and submit for the PAL assessment, once the candidate submits the assessment materials to Pearson for scoring, the candidate will be unable to access the submitted materials in the Pearson ePortfolio system. If a candidate wants to retain copies of their submissions and share with program faculty, the files should be saved outside the Pearson ePortfolio system prior to submission. PAL materials, once submitted, cannot be returned to candidates.

Faculty are required to abide by the Faculty Confidentiality Guidelines for Video Recording in the Administrative Field Guide for Leadership Preparation Programs which prohibit the sharing, copying, or posting of candidate assessment materials, including video recordings in any public way.

Attestations

When candidates are ready to submit their assessment materials to Pearson for scoring, they are presented with candidate attestations, which include requiring confirmation that they have obtained the necessary video releases and that they have not posted and will not post video recordings in any location other than the Pearson ePortfolio system. Candidates must keep their PAL video recordings under secure conditions and share with programs only when appropriate permissions are granted.

Upload and Storage of the Assessment Materials

Candidates upload assessment materials, including video recordings, directly into the Pearson ePortfolio system.

Transmission of assessment materials via this method is protected using industry standard encryption practices.

Once materials have been uploaded directly into the Pearson ePortfolio system, they must be reviewed and verified by the candidate in the Pearson ePortfolio system and submitted for official scoring.

Storage

The assessment materials are stored by Pearson in secure repositories and areas accessible only to authorized users via unique, secure log-in credentials for specific actions and for limited periods of time.

Access

By using industry-standard security software (encrypted protocols and encrypted and expiring tokens), the system ensures that access to view the stored assessment materials/videos is granted only to authorized users.

  • Authorized Pearson users may include scorers, scorer supervisors, scorer trainers, scoring support personnel, and personnel required to conduct quality control.

Post-Submission and Scoring

Access

  • Authorized Pearson users may include scorers, scorer supervisors, scorer trainers, scoring support personnel, and personnel required to conduct quality control or required to conduct an investigation associated with compliance with the Rules of Assessment Participation, as needed.
  • Authorized individuals at the relevant state agency responsible for principal certification may be provided access to submitted assessment materials or a portion thereof as part of an investigation associated with compliance with the Rules of Assessment Participation, or for other quality control purposes, as needed.

Authorized scorers access the candidate assessment materials, including video recordings, through Pearson's password-protected secure Scoring System. Candidate assessment materials are available only for the period in which scoring occurs. Scorer access to the Pearson Scoring System is disabled after the scorer's activities are completed.

Access to PAL Data

Candidate scores will be reported to the candidate and to the program provider or organization designated by the candidate in the PAL registration system. Candidate scores will also be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will receive candidate-level score results and aggregated pass-rate information.
  • Program Providers and Organizations will receive candidate-level score results.
  • Data will be available to the authorized PAL score reporting contact at program providers and organizations and at DESE via Pearson's secure reporting site that requires unique username and password access. The information reported via this secure, web-based system is expressly for use by DESE and by approved program providers and organizations. The data provide information on those candidates enrolled in the program as identified by the candidate in the PAL registration system.

Other Uses of Candidate Materials

  • PAL assessment materials, without candidate or other identifying information, may be used for PAL program development and implementation, including scorer training.
  • Prior to submitting their assessment materials to Pearson for scoring, PAL candidates are asked to consent to the use of their assessment materials to support continued program improvement activities conducted by Pearson and DESE, such as future validity and reliability studies of the PAL.
  • Candidate video recordings will not be shown in any public venue nor made available in a non-secure way.
  • Candidate materials, including video recordings, will not be used for marketing purposes or as exemplars for marketing purposes.

Other Use or Disclosure of Information

It is Pearson's practice not to transmit personally identifiable information to third parties, except as provided in this Privacy Policy posted on www.ma-pal.nesinc.com. We may disclose personally identifiable information in the following situations:

  1. in response to a subpoena, court order, or legal process, to the extent permitted and required by law;
  2. to address violations of law, and/or to protect your security or the security of other persons, consistent with applicable law;
  3. in connection with a sale, joint venture, or other transfer of some or all of the assets of Pearson;
  4. to organizations that are working as contractors or agents of Pearson and that are committed or obliged to protect your privacy in a manner consistent with the Privacy Policy;
  5. to the contracted provider of PAL services, should the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education award the contract the award to a different vendor.

By using the www.ma-pal.nesinc.com site and the Pearson ePortfolio system, candidates give their consent for personal information to be transmitted in the situations outlined above.

PAL Retention and Destruction

The standard retention period for PAL task submission materials, including videos, is five years following the task score report date, after which submission materials will be destroyed. There may be exceptions to the standard retention period for extenuating circumstances, such as a score void or other challenge.

After the retention period, PAL artifacts, including videos, are disposed of through a set of automated processes that identify and physically delete the artifacts from their repository locations. These processes are executed on a regular, periodic basis and render the artifacts inaccessible and irretrievable.

Candidate PAL scores and associated identifying information will be retained while NCS Pearson, Inc. is contracted by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to be the testing provider of test administration and reporting services for the PAL. Once NCS Pearson, Inc. ceases to be the contracted provider of PAL services, NCS Pearson, Inc. will facilitate the transfer of data including results and submission materials to the Department or the Department's contracted provider of PAL services.

Video-Recording Permissions

ESE Memo: Participation Requirements and use of Videotaping in the Massachusetts Performance Assessment for Leaders

This is a memo from ESE on the participation requirements for, and use of, videotaping with PAL. ESE is looking for superintendents and principals to support candidates as they work within their schools and district to attain permissions for the video recording. The video recording is an essential component of Task 3, because it allows the candidate to provide authentic visual evidence of conducting observations, providing thoughtful feedback, and offering support to a teacher.

Before you record your video, ensure that you have the appropriate permission from the parents/guardians of the students and from adults who appear in the video recording.

Review the model consent forms on the Candidates Resources page of this site.

The consent forms are not to be submitted with your materials, but you should follow your preparation program policy for retaining them.

Submission Requirements and Condition Codes

Candidates must review the PAL Submission Requirements and Condition Codes before beginning to create their assessment submission.

Submission Attestations

In order to submit your PAL assessment to Pearson for scoring, you must confirm the following.

As the candidate, I confirm that:

  • I have reviewed and agree to the "Massachusetts PAL Rules of Assessment Participation."
  • I am the person who has completed the assessment and all of the submitted task work products.
  • I have attributed all materials in the assessment whose sources are from published text, the internet, or any other source, including other educators.
  • I have identified the sources for documents included in my task submission and acknowledged authorship for documents that were created by me or other individuals or organizations.
  • I am sole author of the submissions, including written artifacts, video artifacts, and commentaries unless one or more of my submissions is the product of a collaboration.
  • In the event that I am collaborating with any other individual in any aspect of PAL, I have identified any and all points of collaboration; clearly stated my role in the collaboration and the role(s) of my collaborators; and attest that my submissions, including written artifacts and commentary, are entirely my own original product and not the product of anyone else.
  • I have protected the identity of people featured in my submission by removing any identifiable information, including the name(s) of my district, school, institution, faculty, staff, and students.
  • I have reviewed the PAL Submission Requirements and confirm that all of my submitted materials meet these requirements for a scorable task that can be reviewed by a scorer and have scores assigned to all rubrics.

For Task 3:

  • The video clips submitted show the class I observed and my post-observation conference with the teacher about the class I observed; the materials and student work included as other documents are related to the class I observed and were completed during the observation or other lessons in the same unit of study documented in this assessment.
  • I understand that I am responsible for obtaining appropriate consents from the teacher(s) and parents/guardians of the students who appear on the video clips I submit. I agree to maintain such consents for at least one year after I submit my assessment.
  • I have ensured confidentiality of individuals appearing in the video clips I submit by uploading the video only to the designated Pearson ePortfolio system.
  • I understand that I may use my assessment materials according to the parameters of the release forms obtained for children and/or adults who appear in the video.
  • I will not display videos publicly (i.e., personal websites, YouTube, Facebook) without expressed permission for this purpose from the adults and students featured in the video.
  • I have reviewed and agree to the PAL "Guidelines for Video Confidentiality for Candidates" including the prohibition regarding sharing or posting the PAL assessment materials, including video to the internet (e.g., YouTube, Facebook) or other non-secured and/or publicly accessible locations.

Once you submit your assessment to Pearson, you will no longer be able to view, edit, or retrieve it.

If you have not yet reviewed your uploaded materials in their entirety to ensure that they appear as intended in the Pearson ePortfolio system, you must cancel your submission and do so before submitting.

Retake Policy

Retake Eligibility

If a candidate does not meet or exceed the total PAL passing score of 2.75, as well as the threshold score (2.1) on each of the four tasks, he/she may elect to create a new registration to retake a task(s) to improve his/her individual task and overall assessment performance. Candidates must wait to receive scores from their last task submission before they can register for a retake of that same task.

In all cases, when a task is submitted as a retake, the entire task is scored without reference to the previous submission. The highest task level score (not the rubric indicator level score) is applied to the overall PAL Summary Score.

Retakes of scored tasks which did not meet the minimum threshold for the task or the total PAL summary score must include new or substantially revised artifacts and commentaries where original candidate responses are required. Note that candidates may resubmit supporting documents by category (e.g., school or district data, a school plan, or other required components not originated by the candidate) without revision.

Candidates electing to retake a task or tasks based on a prior submission that received condition codes should carefully review all PAL Submission Requirements and Condition Codes PDF document, individual task components, the condition codes which were applied and reported in their score report, and specifications for required work.

You can view current information for any scored tasks by logging in to your account. There, you may view your scores, as well as an overall PAL Summary Report (Best Attempt scores) when applicable.

Retake Guidelines

Candidates who receive condition code(s) (indicating materials were not scorable) may re-create or revise materials for a retake that specifically address the reason(s) for receiving the condition code(s). Retake submissions that rectify condition codes A, C, D, or X (e.g., video was unplayable, non-blinded materials, etc.) may include previously submitted materials in addition to specifically addressing the reason(s) for condition codes being applied. In all other condition code cases (B, E, or F), the candidate must submit new or revised materials that address the reason(s) for the condition codes. In all cases, when a task is submitted as a retake, the entire task is scored without reference to the previous submission. The highest task level score (not the rubric indicator level score) is applied to the overall PAL Summary Score.

  • Candidates will have two years from the time they register for a PAL task to complete, upload, and submit all work for that task.
  • All work must be completed following standard PAL submission policies and requirements, as well as the Massachusetts PAL Rules of Assessment Participation, available on the Candidates/Policies page of this website.
  • All work must be completed according to the task instructions in use during the Program Year of the retake, and will be scored according to the rubrics in use at the time of submission.
  • There is no limit on the number of times a candidate can register to retake each task, although each retake will be charged separately.

Retake Registration

Before registering, candidates should review the PAL Retake Guidance for Candidates . This guide contains important submission information.

When you are ready to register for a task(s), go to the Candidates/Registration and Submission page and follow the system instructions to register for the appropriate task(s).

Score Reporting Policies

Reporting of Assessment Results

Your assessment results will be reported to you, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and, if applicable, the program or organization that you indicated as a score recipient when you registered. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will also receive notification upon your successful completion of the assessment.

Duration of Task Scores

For the purpose of PAL assessment completion, the score for each completed and scored task will be valid for a period of seven years from the score report date. If a candidate has not completed all four tasks within seven years after the score report date of the initial submission, the score for any task reported more than seven years ago will no longer be considered valid, and candidates will then be required to complete and submit new work under new registrations.

Voiding of Scores by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or Evaluation Systems

If you violate one of the "Rules of Assessment Participation" or if doubts are raised about the validity or legitimacy of your registration or your scores, Evaluation Systems will notify the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other parties as deemed appropriate by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Evaluation Systems takes reasonable security precautions in administering PAL and in processing scores. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Evaluation Systems reserve the right to void your scores if in their sole opinion there is adequate reason to question your scores' validity or legitimacy, due to misconduct (including, but not limited to, a violation of the rules set forth on the current program website, including the Rules of Assessment Participation) or to circumstances within or beyond your control.

Further action may be taken, including denial, revocation or other sanction of any educator license issued by the Department. Other actions, as described in Rule 8 of the Rules of Assessment Participation, may be taken as deemed appropriate by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and/or Evaluation Systems.

Please note that software may be employed to screen submissions for originality of content. Submissions determined to violate PAL rules regarding the originality of the submitted material will be subject to actions described above.