•   Spring 2023 CDM Testing Window: February 15- February 28.

    Applications Due February 8 to school counselors for Fall 2023 courses.

    What is CDM?

    The State Board of Education defines “mastery” as a student’s command of course material at a level that demonstrates a deep understanding of the content standards and the ability to apply his or her knowledge of the material.

    “Credit by demonstrated mastery” is the process by which LEAs shall, based upon a body-of-evidence, award a student credit in a particular course without requiring the student to complete classroom instruction for a certain amount of seat time. 

    Policy GCS-M-001.13, Course for Credit, Credit by Demonstrated Mastery, specifically offers NC students the opportunity to personalize and accelerate their learning by earning course credit through a demonstration of mastery of course material.

    What Courses are Eligible?

    Access to the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery process is open to all NC public school students high school courses in grades 9-12 and those high school courses offered in middle school.  The CDM policy recognizes that any student may have unique, individual circumstances in his or her learning path that has allowed the student to gain a deep understanding of content of a particular course or subject area without the traditional school setting.  CDM promotes personalized learning and removes the requirement for seat time for student learning and earning credit for courses so that a student may take a more advanced course in that same subject area or provide time in the class schedule to explore a new topic.  It allows subject-level acceleration without requiring full grade-level acceleration.

     At this time, students may earn CDM for all high school courses in grades 9-12 and high school courses offered in middle school in grades 6-8. 

    The following courses are excluded from CDM:

    ·      Career and Technical Education (CTE) work-based learning courses (co-op, internship, apprenticeship)

    ·      CTE courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement of the course, such as ProStart, Early Childhood Education I/II and Nursing Fundamentals

    ·      CTE Advanced Studies courses or any course without state technical standards

    ·      English Language Learner (ELL) courses

    ·      Healthful Living required courses

    ·      AP/IB Courses


    For courses taught in a predetermined sequence, a student may only attempt to earn CDM for the next course in the sequence. For example, if a student has taken Math I and would like to attempt CDM for Math III, s/he would need to first successfully earn credit for Math II, either through CDM or traditional enrollment in the course.  

CDM Student and Family Resources

  • Long Term Considerations

    Each student has individual needs and situations, so please take time to discuss any of the following that apply, with your school's counselor as you move through the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery Process. 

    GPA and Quality Points

    Discuss how CDM courses will not earn grades or quality points towards GPA.  Credit for CDM courses will be granted to meet high school graduation requirements.  This may be a concern for some students and families; however, CDM should be pursued when a student truly wants to benefit from a more challenging learning experience and move towards more advanced coursework.  Students may earn CDM for all standard-level high school courses in grades 9-12 and those high school courses offered in middle school. 

    Athletic/Extra-Curricular Activities

    Discuss the implications for CDM on athletic and other extra-curricular activities.  Discuss with the students how earning CDM may impact a student’s participation in these school activities. There are some potential impacts to consider of CDM on athletic and other extra-curricular activities.  

     High School Diploma Endorsements

    Discuss the criteria for High School Diploma Endorsements (SBE, GCS-L-007), Career, College and Academic Scholars.  Walk through the CDM implications for interested Diploma Endorsements to ensure appropriate coursework is completed.  For example:  If a student desires to work towards the NC Academic Scholars Endorsement and achieves CDM for a standard-level course instead of enrolling in an honors-level course, develop a plan to  enroll in another honors-level or above course criteria needed to attain the NC Academic Scholars Endorsement.

    Opportunity for Early Graduation

    Discuss the option for completing high school graduation requirements (state and local) early.  Discuss post-graduation options that meet the student needs.  Walk through examples of the implications on courses required for graduation and intended High School Diploma Endorsements (SBE, GCS-L-007) if a student earns CDM.  CDM may help prevent some students from leaving high school to pursue other options before graduating.

    University of North Carolina System

    Like community colleges, University of North Carolina member universities have traditionally accepted the State Board of Education’s authority to determine how students earn high school credit toward graduation. Based upon discussions during the summer of 2013 with UNC-GA staff as well as enrollment managers across the system, the credit by demonstrated mastery policy does not change that. Students with a diploma from a North Carolina high school will be recognized as high school graduates regardless of the credits earned via the CDM policy, thus ensuring students’ ability to enroll in a UNC system university following graduation. As always, minimum admission requirements must be satisfied.
Last Modified on January 13, 2023