MGSD Credit By Demonstrated Mastery General Guidelines and Information

In 2013, the NC State Board of Education (SBE) approved a policy titled “Course for Credit” GCS-M-001.13.  Within this SBE policy are guidelines for offering Credit By Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) to North Carolina public education high school students and middle school students eligible to receive high school course credit.  CDM is the process by which the Mooresville Graded School District employs a body of evidence to award a student credit in a particular course without requiring the student to complete traditional classroom instruction for a certain amount of seat time. 

While the CDM process is open to all eligible high school and middle school students, it may not be in the best interest of all students to attempt to earn course credit through the CDM process.  The CDM process is designed to provide opportunity for an individual student who has an exceptional mastery (a much higher level of understanding than proficiency) of course content prior to taking a course and who wishes to earn credit and move onto another course that will be more meaningful.  The SBE 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.  Students will demonstrate mastery through a multi-phase assessment, consisting of (1) a standard examination, which shall be the EOC where applicable, or a final exam developed by MGSD and (2) an artifact which requires the student to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standards.  This multi-phase assessment process builds a body of evidence that allows a committee to determine if the student has a deep understanding of the standards for the course or subject area, as defined by the NC Standard Course of Study, thereby earning credit for the course without experiencing it in a school setting.

Phase I Assessment

Students must score at the mastery level on the Phase I assessment in order to be eligible to progress to Phase II.  Mastery level is defined as:

  • All EOC Tests Level V (based upon NCDPI scale scores)
    • Math I > 264
    • Biology > 261
    • English II > 165
  • CTE Courses > 93 scale score on the CTE Post-Assessment
  • NCFE Courses > 90 score on the NC Final Exam
  • Non-EOC Courses > 94 score on MGSD Final Exam

Re-testing on the Phase I assessment is NOT permitted.

Phase II Assessment

While the Phase I Assessment process establishes a student’s strong foundational understanding of the course standards, the Phase II Assessment process establishes a student’s ability to apply knowledge in a meaningful context to establish clearly that he or she should be awarded course credit.  Phase II Assessment Artifacts can range from written reports to a demonstration of lab skills to electronic presentations to oral interviews or a combination of these.  Phase II Assessment Artifacts will be reviewed and scored by a committee of teachers to determine if the artifact demonstrates application-based mastery of the course content.

Students who demonstrate mastery through the CDM process shall receive credit towards graduation.  Course credit shall be indicated on the student’s transcript with the suffix CDM attached to the course.  MGSD will not award a numeric or letter grade for the CDM course and will not include the grade in the student’s grade point average calculation.  The CDM course credit will be awarded similar to a “Pass” used in awarding “Pass/Fail” credit.  Also, only regular course credit can be earned through the CDM process.  Honors and/or Advanced Placement credit is not available through the CDM process.

For students who unsuccessfully attempt the CDM process, no credit will be awarded and NO record of the unsuccessful attempt will be noted on the student’s transcript.  In order for a student to receive credit for the course after an unsuccessful attempt, the student must enroll in the course and complete it successfully in the traditional manner. 

A student may only attempt the CDM process in a particular course ONE time.  In order to attempt to earn credit for a course using the CDM option, a student must have earned all the required prerequisite course credits.  For more information on course prerequisites, please refer to the MHS-NF Woods Course Offerings document. 

Career and Technical Education (CTE) course credits earned through the CDM process are not eligible for articulated credit through the North Carolina Community College System.  For other academic courses, please contact the community college system directly to see if credits earned through the CDM process will be counted for college credit. 

To review the content standards for courses please visit the NC Department of Public Instruction’s website at

For local course standards, please contact your school counselor.

CDM Process Step-By-Step Guide:

  1. Student and parents should carefully review the information related to the CDM process to determine if this option best meets the needs of the individual student.  Several important pieces of information are posted to help you learn more about the process:
    • CDM General Information document
    • CDM Frequently Asked Questions document
    • CDM Long-Term Considerations document
    • CDM Application document
    • CDM Process Chart
    • CDM MHS Course Offerings document

2.  Student and parent should attend the upcoming informational meeting on Thursday evening – November 30, 2017 – at 6:30pm at Mooresville High School.

3.  Student and parent should follow up with their school counselor if they have any further questions related to the CDM process and it impact on the student’s academic future.

4.  Student and parent should complete the CDM Application and submit the application to the school counselor prior to the January 26, 2018 – deadline date.  Due to state testing requirements - no applications will be accepted after the deadline date.

5.  The school counselor/designee will contact the student to schedule the Phase I Assessment during the February 01 - 15, 2018, testing window.

6.  If the student demonstrates mastery on the Phase I Assessment, the school counselor/designee will contact the student to arrange for the Phase II Assessment Artifact completion.  The student will be provided with more details about this artifact after successful completion of Phase I.  The window for Phase II completion is roughly March 5, 2018 to April 13, 2018.

7.  The CDM Student Review Panel will score the Phase II Assessment Artifact and conduct any interviews (if necessary) to determine CDM status for the student.

8.  If student successfully completes the CDM process, course credit will be awarded and the student’s schedule for the next semester will be adjusted to reflect the awarded credit.

Appeals Process:

While there is no appeals process for the Phase I Assessment if a student does not meet the mastery score requirement (listed above), there is an appeals process for Phase II.  If the student does not meet the mastery level in the Phase II Assessment Artifact, the student and/or parent can appeal that decision to the school principal who will convene a second review committee to score the Phase II Assessment Artifact.  In order to make the appeal the student and/or parent must submit a request for an appeal to the principal in writing within 10 days of notification of credit not being awarded.  The second review committee will conduct the appeal and notify the student and parent within 10 days of receipt of the request.  The decision of the second review committee is final.