• Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) is the process by which a student may earn credit for a high school course by demonstrating a deep understanding of the content; without course enrollment or seat time.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Who may participate in the CDM process?
      While any NC public school student who is able to show a deep understanding of the content without seat time and classroom learning experience can benefit from CDM, the structure is specifically intended for highly advanced students of specific content areas. Students do not need to be identified as AIG to attempt the CDM process.

    2. What does the process look like?
      CDM consists of a multi-phased assessment:

    Phase 1: Student examination demonstrating foundational knowledge, using an EOC, NCFE, CTE, or other LEA exam.  Students must score 90% correct on the final exam or Level V on an EOC assessment. Students must pass Phase 1 before moving on to Phase 2.

    Phase 2: Student artifact demonstrating application of knowledge, such as Capstone Projects in CTE courses, interview, or project.  These projects are specifically designed by content area experts in the particular field of study.

    1. When does this process begin?
      There are 3 exam windows determined by the state each year to begin the multi-phase assessment process.

    Fall window 

    Spring window 

    Summer window 

    1. How do I begin the process?
      See your counselor or your school testing coordinator for the Student-Family Agreement Form.  This application contains information about the CDM process that families will need to review before making a decision to attempt CDM.  The application also provides the information needed for schools to prepare the multi-phase assessment process. For questions about CDM, please contact Ian Nelson at ian.nelson@acsgmail.net or Laura Parks at laura.parks@acsgmail.net.

    2. Is a credit earned through the CDM policy intended to be “different” than a credit earned in the traditional manner (completing the course)?

    No. Schools and districts shall assess students and evaluate artifacts based on the same standards that are applied to students earning course credit in the traditional sense. The achievement levels required to earn CDM through a two-phase assessment already reflect a  more rigorous expectation of students who want to earn credit in this manner than those of students who complete the course with the traditional seat time. 

    1. What is the difference between CDM and Placement Tests?

    Placement tests may be available for students to “place” in a higher level course and be exempt from local pre-requisities. If a student successfully completes placement test requirements, they may be scheduled in a higher level course, but are not awarded credit for the courses they have placed out of.  For example, a student may complete a placement test to be placed in Dance II, but they will not receive credit for Dance I. Students may not take a placement test for any class required for high school graduation or for courses in which there is a state pre-requisite requirement. Principals must approve all placements in which a local pre-requisite is waived. 

    1. Who is eligible to request an opportunity to earn credit by demonstrating mastery? 

    All students in North Carolina Public Schools for high school courses in grades 9-12 and high school courses offered in grades 6-8 in middle school. 

    1. Is there a limit to the number of courses for which a student may earn credit using the CDM policy? 

    No. Students may earn credit using CDM for as many courses as they wish and districts may not impose local limitations. However, students may only make one attempt per course.  Students who are unsuccessful after one attempt must register for and complete the course in the traditional manner to receive credit. 

    1. How does CDM credit impact course prerequisites and sequencing? 

    When courses are taught in a predetermined sequence, a student may only apply for CDM for the next course in the sequence. For example, a student who has not taken Math 1 would not be permitted to obtain CDM credit for Math II.

    1. Can students enrolled in a course decide to earn CDM partway through the course? 

    No. Students may not request CDM for a course in which they are currently or were previously enrolled. 

    1. How does the CDM policy and its implementation impact quality points and a student’s grade point average (GPA)? 

    CDM credits are awarded as a “pass” and will appear as such on the student’s transcript. No course grade is received and the course is not included in the GPA calculation. 

    1. May students earn CDM credit for honors courses? 

    No. CDM credits will be indicated on the transcript similar to a ‘pass’ and therefore do not impact a student’s grade point average. Honors will not be included in the course title on the student’s transcript.

    1. May a student earn the CPR credit through CDM? 

    No. CPR is part of the Healthful Living requirement and NC State Board of Education policy specifically excludes CPR from CDM. 

    1. May a student receive credit through CDM for a course not offered in Asheville City Schools? 

    No. Students in Asheville City Schools may only receive credit through CDM for courses offered at Asheville High School or SILSA.

    1. May students earn credit by demonstrated mastery for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses? 

    Yes, with the exception of specific courses excluded by SBE policy (work-based learning courses such as co-ops, internships, and apprenticeships; courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement such as ProStart, Early Childhood Education I/II and Nursing Fundamentals;  Advanced Studies courses). For CTE courses, an industry credential may be accepted as the required artifact component. Students will still be expected to complete the post-assessment if one is available, or a teacher-made exam if the state does not provide a post-assessment. If the student earns credit, the post-assessment score would be reported in the technical attainment performance measure. 

    1. Can students graduate early based on credits earned through this policy? 

    Yes. CDM credits work like traditional credits toward graduation. DPI recommends that early graduation decisions be made through deep discussion between families, students, and appropriate educational staff. 

    1. If a student chooses to earn credit by demonstrated mastery for an EOC course, will the student have to take that EOC for the course they passed through CDM? 

    Yes. Students attempting to earn a CDM credit for a course with an EOC must take the EOC as the Phase 1 assessment component of the CDM attempt. The score will be banked for appropriate use if the attempt is successful. 

    1. Are credits earned through this policy accepted by outside organizations such as the NCHSAA, NCCCS, UNC-GA, and NCAA? 

    No. Students considering collegiate athletics should be advised that NCAA Division I and Division II  colleges and universities do not recognize test-out credits in terms of meeting college entrance credit requirements, and therefore CDM is strongly discouraged for potential collegiate athletics. Credits earned through CDM shall be used to count toward minimum credits for the purpose of high school athletic eligibility. 

    1. In a sequence of courses, such as English I, II, III, IV, could a student theoretically receive credit for all four courses? 

    Yes. A student may earn CDM for all courses. If a student did earn CDM for all four courses through the multi-phase assessments, this indicates a clear need for a personalized learning plan. DPI would strongly recommend that the CDM team closely work with students/families and other educators, such as counselors and AIG staff, to ensure appropriate programming is in place for students with this high ability and long-term needs and implications are addressed.