Principal Certification Redesign

January 16, 2019 • Cheryl Hoover

prinicpal certification redesign

Because of the significant and evolving role of principals as instructional leaders and the needs of Texas schools and communities, new principal standards were adopted in 2016 by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC).

With the implementation of the new standards, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) developed the new Principal as Instructional Leader certification test framework and instruments to certify Texas principals.

TEA collaborated with principal preparation program faculty and practicing principals to develop the new test instruments, the TExES Principal (268) Examination and the Performance Assessment for School Leaders (PASL). These instruments reflect the skills beginning principals need to be effective instructional leaders across all levels (EC–12).

Why the change?

Since 2002—the year the previous exam, the TExEXS Principal (068), was implemented—Texas school districts have added 1.2 million students who are more diverse. Forty-nine percent of new teachers are certified through alternative certification programs compared to 3.3 percent in 2002. Principals today implement T-TESS instead of PDAS, new TEKS and STAAR instead of TAKS, and new accountability ratings. An emphasis is on the critical role of the school principal as an instructional leader who can coach and develop teachers, design and lead quality professional development, communicate with the school community, and strategically solve problems. The new standards and test instruments will better prepare principal candidates to be successful instructional leaders. 

How does this impact principal certification?

Principal certificate candidates can expect the following changes:

  • Effective September 1, 2019, all candidates will be required to pass the new TExES Principal (268) and complete the Performance Assessments for School Leaders (PASL) to obtain a standard principal certification.
  • Candidates who pass the TExES Principal (268) by August 31, 2019 will be exempt from the PASL if they complete all other certification requirements by that date and are recommended for certification by October 30, 2019.
  • The TExES Principal (268) test will be offered free to candidates through January 2019 who have never attempted the TExES Principal (068) test.
  • The PASL will become available to candidates in the fall of 2019.
  • The cost of the TExES Principal (268) is $200 and the PASL is estimated to cost $375. This is a significant increase from the $200 TExES Principal (068).
  • Current principals who have the five-year renewable certificate have an endorsement option to upgrade to the new Principal as an Instructional Leader certificate by taking the PASL portion of the new principal test.
  • TheTExES Principal (068) test will be available for re-testers only through 8/31/2019.

What are the components of the new exams?

The TExES Principal (268) Exam is a computer-administered tests consisting of 91 selected-response and four constructed-response questions. Along with the PASL, it assess six domains: school culture, leading learning, human capital, executive leadership, strategic operations, and ethics, equity, and diversity, including eleven competencies. The previous exam (068) consisted of 120 selected-response questions with no constructed-response questions covering three domains and nine competencies.

The PASL consists of three authentic performance assessment tasks that are completed during an internship. Interns will need support of their principal as well as opportunities to work with other teachers and committees. The tasks require candidates to address problem solving, supporting continuous professional development, and creating collaborative teams. For more information on the tests, visit the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program website

How can districts help?

Human resources and hiring managers can actively look for applicants that have the new principal certification to consider for interviews. Also, HR can share this information with current principals so they understand the new expectations and are prepared to provide support and feedback for interns.

TEA plans to assess the quality new principal candidates are receiving from their preparation program through the annual principal survey (April 3–June 15, 2019). Survey participants will receive five Continuing Professional Education (CPEs) credits for each survey completed.

A comprehensive communication plan has been initiated by TEA to ensure that Texas principal preparation programs and candidates are informed of the changes. Communication at the district level will assist with this plan. Detailed information is available on the TEA website.


Cheryl Hoover is an HR specialist at TASB HR Services. Send Cheryl an email at cheryl.hoover@tasb.org.

Tagged: Certification, Hiring, "Professional development"