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Find Answers to Your CDM Questions

Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) is a highly rigorous testing process for achieving high school course credit without completing the course through “seat time” and assignments. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) implemented this policy in 2014 following suit with other states across the nation. The purpose is to give uniquely qualified students who possess mastery knowledge of content the ability to personalize their learning.

Parent and student questions regarding CDM increase every November and December, prior to the assessment application deadline, and this year is no different. For the first time, however, CHCCS offered a CDM webinar on January 6, delivered by Director of Humanities & Healthful Living, Dr. Christy Stanley and Director of Secondary Math & Science, Dorie Hall. Over 200 attendees logged on to learn more.

The deadline for CDM registration is Friday, January 15;  the application window opened on January 4. Middle and high school students received explanatory emails from their individual schools. This year, each school determines and administers its own testing schedule and process. As mandated by the NCDPI, all Phase I testing must occur in face-to-face settings at each school. The Phase I window for testing is from March 1-12, with the Phase ll dates released in February.

Although the prospect of earning course credit by taking an exam might sound like a “Why not?” choice, students should review existing guidelines and parameters closely and hopefully be able to answer the essential question, “What is your end goal for applying for the assessment(s)?” Students must be able to consider the gaps in their future schedules and how they will fill those courses. 

Students, and their parents, are strongly encouraged to review all of the information included in the CDM webinar (or by viewing the detailed CDM slides) before submitting applications to their schools. Middle school families are also asked to review the CHCCS Middle School CDM Choiceswhich outlines the courses a student may choose based upon their grade level. “We ask you to make a very thoughtful, careful decision and honor your commitment if you sign up,” Stanley said.

Among the slides is a sobering chart of pass/fail rates from 2020 that range from 16 of 26 passing scores for Civics to 21 of 50 passing the Earth Science course. The highest percentages of passing scores fall in the World Languages category, although most students express interest in achieving credit for math and science courses. The passing rates for passing those courses fall well below 50%.

The impact on each school’s staff is substantial because of the time required for organizing multiple assessments for numerous students: each student and test must be manually entered into the system, every test requires an administrator as well as a proctor and the four courses assessed through the state EOC’s (English 2, Math 1, Math 3 and Biology) each entail four hours of testing.

For other informational websites, check the CHCCS CDM page, as well as the CDM NCDPI page.

Each middle and high school has designated an adminstrator to oversee the CDM process:

CMS- Amanda Sands-Warren ( and Matt Straub (

MMS- Jaimi West (

PMS- Tiffany Cheshire (

SMS- Pamela McAllister ( and Susan Norris (

CHS- Lucas Paulsen (

CHHS- Shelba Levins (

ECHHS- Brandon Patterson (