Transylvania County Schools

Earning Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)

Starting in 2015, students will be able to earn credit for a course without spending a set number of hours taking the course in a classroom.

“Credit by Demonstrated Mastery” is the process by which a school shall, based upon a body-of-evidence, award a student credit in a particular course without requiring the student to complete classroom instruction for a certain amount of seat time.

Under the state’s new Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) option, uniquely qualified students may “test out” or bypass a course if they have already mastered the content.

The program provides another opportunity for students to learn new content, to challenge themselves with the next level of rigor in a subject, and even graduate early. This option is not designed to replace existing accelerated pathways, such as the Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program. 

The CDM option is available to all students in North Carolina under State Board of Education policy SBE-GCS-M-001, Section 13.


  • Families must complete and return the CDM Application (available below in Resources) to their school counselors.  
                     Submission deadlines are:
                                  May 27, 2016 - Summer testing window is July 18-21, 2016
                                   August 30, 2016 - Fall testing window is September 12-16, 2016
  • During the testing window, July 18-21, students will take an exam (known as Phase 1) to demonstrate they have mastered the essential standards in the selected course. Students with a score of 90 and above on CTE post-assessments, NC Final exams and teacher made exams, and Level V for EOCs and above will continue to Phase 2. Student results will be shared with families as soon as scores are returned from the state.
  • In July 2016, students who continue to Phase 2 will be asked to create a presentation, project, or participate in another form of interview or evaluation with a school-based committee to demonstrate a deep understanding and knowledge of the content. The outcomes of Phase 2 will be shared with students by late August, 2016.

Course selection

  • Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Healthful Living, and some Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are not eligible. Complete list of courses is available in the CDM overview.

How credits will appear on transcripts

  • Students will not receive a letter grade for the course.
  • Students who successfully complete the process will receive a “CDM” 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.


Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document below for common topics. For all other questions, contact your school counselor or email



CDM Frequently Asked Questions

CDM Overview

CDM Process Chart 

CDM Application