CDM Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Credit by Demonstrated Mastery?

    This is an option which allows students to demonstrate mastery of a course’s content, getting credit and a pass/fail grade for the course by taking an assessment and completing an artifact. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction introduced Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) in order to ensure students grow optimally in our public schools and have effective seat time. Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. Failed attempts at CDM are not reflected on a student’s transcript.

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

    No. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will assess students and evaluate artifacts based upon the same standards that are applied to students earning course credit in the traditional sense. The achievement levels required to earn a CDM credit (i.e., assessment scores greater than or equal to 90% plus a required artifact) already reflect a more rigorous expectation of students who want to earn credit in this manner that those of students who complete the course with seat-time. 


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

    Students simply earn a credit and it appears as "CDM" on the student’s transcript. No course grade is received and the course is not included in the GPA calculation. Failed attempts will not be reflected on a student’s transcript.


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

    Any CHCCS high school student or a middle school student who is considering taking a high school course is eligible. Students wishing to earn CDM must demonstrate a deep understanding of the content without seat-time and the classroom learning experience.


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

    No. Students may earn credit using CDM for as many courses as they wish. However, students may only make one attempt per course. Students who are unsuccessful after one attempt must register for and complete the course to receive credit.


     Can the school or district deny a student the opportunity to attempt to earn CDM credit?

    No. The NC state board policy prohibits this. However, there are courses which are excluded from CDM by the state. Honors, AP, and IB courses are excluded, as are CTE work-based learning courses (co-op, internship, and apprenticeship), CTE courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement of the course, CTE Advanced Studies courses, English Language Learner (ELL) courses, and Healthful Living required courses. HERE is a list of all eligible courses for CDM. 


     May students earn honors weight for CDM credit?

    No. CDM credits are awarded as a pass/fail grade and therefore do not impact a student’s grade point average. 


     Does CDM replace differentiation in meeting the learning needs of students?

    No. CDM is not a replacement for differentiated services to meet the learning needs of all students.


     May a student receive credit through CDM for a course not offered at his/her school?

    Yes, but only for those courses offered at other high schools or middle schools within CHCCS. CDM is not available for courses which are not available within the district.


     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.


     Are credits earned through this policy accepted by outside organizations such as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), North Carolina Community College System, the University of North Carolina System (UNC), and National Collegiate

    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. Therefore, CDM is strongly discouraged for potential collegiate athletes.


     May students earn credit by demonstrated mastery for Career and Technical Education?

    Yes, with the exception of specific courses excluded by the NCSBE 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. 


    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. 


     When a student earns credit by demonstrated mastery for a course, what should schools use to replace the course in the student’s schedule?

    Generally, students should replace the course with the next course in the sequence, i.e. a student using CDM to earn a Math I credit should schedule Math II in its place. High school students might also use CDM credit to create space in their schedule that can be filled with a community college course available through Career & College Promise or other advanced courses, such as Advanced Placement courses. The NC Virtual Public School is also a source of courses for students who need to replace a course for which they have earned a CDM credit.

    If a student chooses to earn credit by demonstrated mastery, 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. 


     Can students graduate early based upon credits earned through this policy?

    Yes. CHCCS recommends that early graduation decisions be made through discussion between parents, students, counselors, and school administrators.

     Can students enrolled in a course decide to earn CDM pathway through the course?

    No. The CDM policy is for students who wish to accelerate without enrolling in a course.  

    How will credits appear on transcripts?

    Students will not receive a letter grade for the course. Students who successfully complete the process will receive a “pass” result on their transcripts for the course, and will be eligible to enroll in the next level course in that subject area. Students who do not earn the course credit will not be penalized. Results of the assessment process will not be reflected in the student’s grades or school transcript. Students may make one attempt to earn credit per course. Retests are not offered.

     Can a student apply for CDM in English I and English II?

    No. A student can only receive CDM for the next course in their course sequence.

     What are the passing standards for STAMP language tests?

    CDM measures MASTERY of content and not just proficiency.  Students must score ABOVE the proficiency level in order to successfully  earn CDM credit. The standards for STAMP Tests can be found in THIS document.