Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)


What is CDM?

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) is a new option for obtaining high school course credit for standard level courses (honors level and AP level courses are excluded) in North Carolina. CDM is the process by which a local school system shall, based upon a body-of-evidence, award a student credit in a particular high school course without requiring the student to complete classroom instruction.

To earn credit for a high school course and by-pass the seat time requirements, students shall demonstrate mastery for the course through a two-phase process:

Phase 1:   A Standard Examination

  •   EOC Exam – Level 5
  • Math I >264
  • English II >165
  • Biology >261
  •   NCFE Assessment - 90% or better
  •   CTE Post Assessment – 90% or better
  •   Non-EOC/CTE Assessment – 90% or better

Phase 2:   An Artifact

  • A project that demonstrates the student’s deep understanding of the content standards.
  • Artifacts of any type may be assigned – ranging from three-dimensional to paper-based  to electronic to oral interviews.
  • Credit is indicated on transcripts as follows:
  • EOC, NCFE, non EOC Courses - "CDM"

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

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.

Please see links below for further information.

Student Family Agreement
Recommendations for CDM Family Process
Frequently Asked Questions

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