Areas for Concern/Targets for Growth

The Areas for Concern/Targets for Growth (ACT for Growth) process is designed to emphasize the ACT for Growth Attitude and Behavior Indicators characteristics of early childhood and childhood studies professionals and to encourage candidates to develop and demonstrate these attitudes and behaviors. ACT for Growth also establishes a process for identifying and assisting candidates in changing attitudes and behaviors that are causes for concern.

The Process

Any PSU faculty member(s) or staff member(s) with a concern about a candidate should first notify the candidate’s advisor. The advisor should check to see if there are any previous records of concern for that candidate. If an earlier record of a concern is found, s/he may share that information with the concerned faculty/staff member and may ask to attend the meeting at which the concerned faculty/staff member discusses the concern with the candidate.

Communicating Concerns and Targeting Growth

Any PSU faculty or staff member(s) with a concern about a candidate based upon the indicators described later in this document, is expected to follow the process as outlined below. If a concern comes from a clinical supervisor, both the appropriate faculty member and the clinical supervisor should complete the process.

The process begins at a meeting between the concerned faculty/staff member and the candidate to discuss the concern. Together they complete the Candidate/Faculty/Staff Improvement Plan and Meeting Summary Form (PDF). The goal of the meeting is to identify and document the concern, as well as to develop the candidate’s Improvement Plan. Both the candidate and concerned faculty/staff member should sign these forms, as well as the candidate’s advisor.

Components of the candidate’s Improvement Plan will include the following:

  • description of area(s) of concern
  • description of improvement steps to be followed by the candidate
  • timeline for completion of the plan
  • signature of all meeting participants

In the event that the candidate does not attend the meeting, the Candidate/Faculty/Staff Improvement Plan and Meeting Summary Form should still be completed and all remaining steps of the process followed.

The concerned faculty/staff member should retain a copy of the form and provide copies to the candidate, and the candidate’s advisor. The advisor will maintain all records of ACT Candidate/Faculty/Staff Improvement Plan and Meeting Summary Forms. Should the candidate change advisors, the former advisor will pass these records along to the new advisor.

Improvement Plan Review

At the end of the time specified in the Improvement Plan, the concerned faculty/staff member will schedule a meeting with the candidate. At this meeting, the candidate will be required to report and document how the goals of the Improvement Plan were accomplished. If significant improvement is noted, the concerned faculty/staff member will document the student’s success and terminate the ACT process, declaring it successful. If the student has not met all the goals of the Improvement Plan, the concerned faculty/staff member may opt to terminate the process, declaring it unsuccessful or extend the process. All proceedings and any of these outcomes will be documented on a second Candidate/Faculty/Staff Improvement Plan and Meeting Summary Form (PDF). Copies of this report will be provided to the candidate, the concerned faculty/staff member, and the candidate’s academic advisor.

Responsibilities of the Advisor

It is the responsibility of the candidate’s advisor to keep records of any ACT for Growth process involving the candidate. The advisor is expected to follow up on these cases with the candidate either in the course of regular advising meetings or in special meetings the advisor calls for this purpose. In general, as the number of processes initiated for a particular candidate increases, the advisor should become increasingly involved in the process. For example, generally the advisor would not attend the meetings between the concerned faculty/staff member and the candidate if the process was the first one the candidate has experienced, but generally would attend these meetings for a second or subsequent concern.

Responding to Multiple Concerns

If a candidate is the subject of three or more ACT for Growth processes—especially if these have not been successfully resolved—the advisor has a special responsibility to take action, and may wish to seek advice from the Program Coordinator or the Department Chair about doing so. This action might involve himself/herself negotiating an overriding Improvement Plan with the candidate, counseling the student out of Teacher Certification candidacy, or if all else fails, recommending to the Department Chair that the Department not support the student’s candidacy.

ACT for Growth Attitude and Behavior Indicators


Commitment involves dedication and perseverance toward the improvement of self and society. The pursuit of lifelong learning and increasing self-knowledge are essential components of commitment, as are the beliefs that all students can learn, and that education has the power to transform individuals and the greater society. Indicators of commitment include but are not limited to the following:

  • takes initiative to expand knowledge base and learn new skills
  • exhibits positive attitude about, and engages enthusiastically in, learning and teaching
  • responds positively to feedback and uses it to improve/enhance performance
  • engages in reflection and self-assessment to promote professional growth and continuous learning
  • conveys high expectations for achievement for self and students
  • persists when faced with challenges
  • demonstrates the belief that all children can learn


Collaboration is the ability to foster collegiality and work effectively with others (e.g., students, families and colleagues) towards shared goals. Collaboration enhances both teaching and learning, and is an essential part of developing the capacity to lead. Indicators of collaboration include, but are not limited to the following:

  • engages effectively in collaborative efforts
  • communicates effectively and respectfully
  • seeks and supports group consensus
  • recognizes and acknowledges work of others
  • sets goals and establishes priorities with others
  • follows through on commitments to others


Respect involves demonstrating consideration and regard for self and others and striving to understand the “whole child” within the family, community, and cultural context. Respect enhances communication and one’s effectiveness as a partner in the teaching and learning process. Indicators of respect include, but are not limited to the following:

  • respects opinions and actions of others even when disagreeing
  • receptive to new ideas and diverse perspectives
  • exhibits a kind, patient, and caring manner towards others
  • displays equitable treatment of others
  • interacts sensitively and appropriately in relation to cultural and community norms
  • demonstrates respect for diverse cultures and learners from various backgrounds
  • exhibits care for own health and well being


Responsibility is acting autonomously and demonstrating reliability, sound judgment and personal and professional integrity. Responsible behavior demonstrates one’s commitment and trustworthiness. Indicators of responsibility include, but are not limited to the following:

  • accepts consequences for personal actions and/or decisions
  • takes action to solve problems
  • meets deadlines
  • seeks clarification and/or assistance as needed
  • prioritizes work based upon established goals
  • seeks/locates needed resources
  • exhibits punctuality and preparedness
  • demonstrates appropriate levels of independence
  • upholds the ethical codes relevant to his or her discipline (Council for Exceptional Children, National Association for the Education of Young Children, and National Education Association)

Social Awareness:

Social awareness requires recognizing the impact of one’s attitudes and actions upon others. A socially aware person demonstrates situationally appropriate behavior in various settings. Social awareness enhances one’s ability to communicate respectfully and collaborate effectively. Indicators of social awareness include, but are not limited to the following:

  • seeks to resolve conflict respectfully and effectively
  • communicates appropriately (verbal and non-verbal)
  • maintain self-control
  • responds appropriately to actions and reactions of others
  • adapts to unexpected, difficult, and / or new situations
  • dresses appropriately for the situation
  • respects personal boundaries