Credit by Demonstrated Mastery
Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) is the process by which the Mooresville Graded School District collects 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.
Open the tabs below for information we believe students and parents will find helpful regarding Credit by Demonstrated Mastery. Student and parents should carefully review this information related to the CDM process to determine if this option best meets the needs of the individual student.
- General Guidelines and Information
- The CDM Process
- Who Should Attempt CDM?
- Implications of Completing CDM
- Eligible Courses
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- CDM Student and Family Application
- Appeal Procedures
The NC State Board of Education passed a policy in 2013 allowing eligible high school and middle school students to earn high school course credit without having to actually take the course in the traditional manner. This process is called Credit By Demonstrated Mastery.
Credit By Demonstrated Mastery is the process by which a student earns high school course credit by scoring at the mastery level on multiple assessments designed to gauge the student’s understanding and ability to apply the concepts of the high school course without having to meet the traditional seat-time requirement. While all middle and high school students are eligible for the CDM process, it may not be the best option for all students to attempt to earn course credit.
A Student demonstrates course mastery through a multi-phase assessment process.
- Phase I– a student must score at the mastery level on the specific course’s final exam. Per State Board policy re-testing on Phase I is not permitted. If the student meets the Phase I requirement, then he/she moves to Phase II of the assessment process.
- EOC Tests
- Level 5 on the EOC
- CTE Courses
- > 90 score on the CTE Post-Assessment
- Non-EOC/State-Created Assessment Courses
- > 90 score on the MGSD Final Exam
- EOC Tests
- Phase II – a student must score at the mastery level on an application project specific to the course. A course-specific review team scores the project to determine if it meets the mastery level requirement. Phase II projects can include oral interviews, a demonstration of lab skills, written reports, electronic presentations, or other similar-type assignments or combinations of the above examples. For some CTE courses an industry certification might serve as the Phase II assessment.
For information on specific course standards, please visit the NC Department of Public Instruction website (www.dpi.state.nc.us) and look under the “K-12 Curriculum” tab. For information on local course content not included on the NC Department of Public Instruction website, please contact your school counselor.
- In order to earn credit through the CDM process for a particular course a student must have already earned credit for any courses that are required prerequisites for the CDM course.
- The CDM option will be offered once a year (January-February) in compliance with state board policy. MGSD may choose to also offer a Fall window (September-October).
- CDM is designed to award course credit to students who demonstrate “mastery” of the course content and not simply “proficiency.” Therefore, the assessment score requirements are set at high levels.
Timeline and Important Dates:
Fall Window Deadlines
- Deadline to submit CDM applications is Friday, September 15, 2023. Applications should be submitted to your school counselor.
- Phase I Assessment window is September 18 - September 29, 2023.
- Phase II Assessment window is October 2 - October 20, 2023.
- Final results from the Fall CDM process shared with applicants – late October 2023.
Spring Window Deadlines
- Deadline to submit CDM applications is Thursday, February 15, 2023. Applications should be submitted to your school counselor.
- Phase I Assessment window is February 16 - February 29, 2024.
- Phase II Assessment window is March 11 - March 29, 2024.
- Final results from the Spring CDM process shared with applicants – late March 2024.
Students and parents seriously considering the CDM option should meet with their school counselor to further discuss the process, the courses in question, and the long-term impact that earning course credit through the CDM process may have on the student’s high school and post-secondary plans.
MOST courses are only open to current eighth graders and high school students. Current 7th Graders may attempt CDM for Math 1 or Spanish 1.
Credit by Demonstrated Mastery is ideal for:
- Students who have an exceptional, independent mastery of course content PRIOR to taking a course
- Students who wish to earn credit and move onto another course that is a better use of their time for learning and have their own intrinsic motivation to do so
- Students who have a clear reason for opening slots in their high school schedule to advance in a particular content area.
- Students who would be able to pass the assessment if they took it tomorrow.
Even with those characteristics, there is historically about a 50% success rate in obtaining credit because it is a highly rigorous process.
When a student and family are working through the CDM process, it is critical that they consider the long-term implications associated with earning course credit(s) at an accelerated rate. Students and parents should meet with a school counselor to discuss these long-term implications. It is critical to discuss all aspects of a student’s development, including academic, cognitive and social/emotional development, when CDM is being considered. This will ensure that students/families are able to make an informed decision about participating in the CDM process. It is the responsibility of the entire CDM team to counsel students/ families; not just one person.
Below are common long-term issues to discuss and consider with your students/families who are interested in CDM:
Advanced Courses through Grade 12
Discuss current options available for advanced curriculum and instruction. Discuss CDM as well as other possible pathways for advanced learning through grade 12. Review how programs such as high school courses in middle school, AP/IB/Honors courses, CCP opportunities, and whole-grade acceleration may also support a student’s needs. If a child does indeed subject accelerate with CDM or through other means, create a long-term plan to ensure the student, family and school are all working together and are aware of future opportunities. The availability of advanced courses may be limited for students who successfully complete the CDM process in multiple courses.
CDM can potentially impact a student’s eligibility in athletic and other extra-curricular activities. It is important that the CDM team discuss these possible implications. Because the CDM process is a relatively new process, some external organizations do not have concrete policies in place at this time. Organizations such as the NC High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should be contacted to verify eligibility implications for students considering the CDM option. Discussions surrounding how earning CDM may impact a student’s participation in these school activities are important.
GPA and Quality Points
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.
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 meet the criteria of the honors-level or above course criteria needed to attain the NC Academic Scholars Endorsement.
Opportunity for Early Graduation
The CDM process may open an opportunity for completing high school graduation requirements (state and local) early. Discussions concerning post-graduation options that meet the student needs are important. 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.
Students may pursue Credit by Demonstrated Mastery for most courses offered at Mooresville High School and for some high school courses offered at MGSD middle schools. Before pursuing CDM, students and families should consider other high rigor courses such as Honors and Advanced Placement offerings and the potential impact on a student's schedule.
The following courses are excluded from the CDM process per state regulations:
- 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 Courses
Applications for 2023-24 are now open! Applications are due by Sept. 15 for the Fall window and by Feb. 15 for the Spring window.
The CDM Student and Family Application can be found here. It is a two-page application.
Students should complete a separate CDM Application for each course for which they are applying to complete CDM.
Please turn in applications to your School Counselor.
Students and famiiles may appeal the district's CDM decision within 10 days of notification, with a written requested directed to Dr. Tracey Waid (email@example.com).
Please review the MGSD CDM Appeal Procedures if you disagree with the team's decision.