Build a Student-centered Plan to Support Learning Differences

Educators must demonstrate ability to collect and use data (including student input) in order to build an actionable, learner-centered plan to support a student's learning differences.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator leverages student input and various sources of student data (at least three) to build a plan designed to target and support a specific student’s learning differences in the educational context.

Method Components

Build a Student-Centered Plan is the fourth micro-credential in the Learning Differences stack.

The full Learning Differences stack includes six micro-credentials:

  1. Demonstrate Understanding
    • Of Working Memory
    • Of Executive Function
    • Of Learner Motivation
  2. Build a Student-Centered Plan
  3. Apply Student-Centered Strategies
  4. Engage Your Peers in Supporting Students’ Learning Differences

What is a student-centered plan?

  • A student-centered plan is one that leverages multiple sources of data and the student’s voice, and is thoughtfully crafted to actionably address a specific student need.
  • A student-centered plan incorporates a student’s strengths as well as needs and is designed in partnership with the student rather than on behalf of the student.
  • A student-centered plan outlines specific strategies based on the student’s input and needs.

What types of data should an educator use when building a student-centered plan?

  • Interview data from a one-on-one conversation with the identified student.
  • Representative student work samples (highlighting student successes and struggles)
  • Input from past and current teachers
  • Other input from important figures.

How can an educator build a student-centered plan?

  • Involve the student from the beginning, eliciting their feedback on both the need and strategies. Consider using some of the following questions as conversation starters:
    • When have you felt successful in school? What made that experience great?
    • What do you like to do outside of school?
    • What part of the day is best for you in my class? What part of the day is the most difficult? Why?
    • How do you like to learn? Or, when you teach yourself something new at home, how do you teach yourself?
    • What helps you remember best? Tell me about a time when you couldn’t remember – what did you do?
    • What would you like me to try to support you?
  • Collect other data points:
    • Review a number of work samples from the student, including times when the student has really succeeded and when the student has struggled, particularly with working memory, executive function, and motivation in mind.
    • Have a conversation with the parent or family member of the student and explain the student’s learning difference to him/her. Find out if there are similar patterns at home and find out how the family has supported the student in the past.
    • Consider using other inventories or questionnaires with the student as appropriate.
  • Review the data thoughtfully and draft strategies that you believe will support the student’s working memory needs.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Gathercole, Susan E., and Susan J. Pickering. “Assessment of Working Memory in Six- and Seven-Year-Old Children.” Journal of Educational Psychology 92.2 (2000): 377–390.
  • Brown, Julie K. “Student-Centered Instruction: Involving Students in Their Own Education.” Music Educators Journal 94.5 (2008): 30-35. Web.
  • Falchikov, Nancy. “Involving students in assessment.” Psychology Learning & Teaching 3.2 (2004): 102-108.
  • Salinas, Moises, Sarah Kane-Johnson, and Melissa Vasil-Miller. “Long-term learning, achievement tests, and learner centered instruction.” Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 8.3 (2012): 20-28.
  • Benson, Phil. “Learner-centered teaching.” The Cambridge Guide to Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching (2012): 30-37.


  • Making Students Partners in Data-Driven Approaches to Learning
    This article is an excerpt from “Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment,” by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, and Libby Woodfin. This excerpt is from the chapter titled “Using Data with Students.”

  • Student Agency
    This blog provides a number of definitions of student agency and poses some questions to consider.

  • All Kinds of Minds Case Studies
    This group of case studies provides a good model for the sort of profile narrative you might submit.

  • How to Teach Now – Chapter 1: Knowing Our Students As Learners
    This excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book “How to Teach Now” offers a dense but solid literature review on the topic of learner profiles. A table of suggested strategies appears toward the end of the post.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the Build a Student Centered Plan micro-credential you must earn a “yes” for all questions below.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Describe the student you’ve identified for this micro-credential. In particular, why did you identify him/her as someone who might need further support?
  • How did you involve the student in the creation of this plan? Specifically, how did you use the student’s input to inform your planning and data collection processes?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Your artifact submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a “Yes” score on this portion of the total submission in order to earn the micro-credential.

  • Please submit a collection of the (at least three) data sources you used to better understand the student’s learning differences and assets/needs.
  • Please submit an artifact that shows the student-centered plan for intervention.

Part 3. Reflection

  • How will you leverage student input in the future to better plan for meeting students’ needs?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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