• Earning Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)

    “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.


    • Students must complete and return the CDM Application (available below in Resources) to their school counselor.

    Submission deadlines are:

    Summer 2019 testing window: mid- to late July. Applications accepted for End-of-Course, CTE, NC Final, and teacher-made exams: due Friday, 5/3.  

    Fall 2019 testing window:  early to mid-September, 2019. Applications accepted only for CTE, NC Final, and teacher-made exams: due Friday, 8/30.

    Spring 2020 testing window: mid- to late February, 2019. No spring applications for English; other applications for CTE, NC Final, and teacher-made exams: due TBA.


    • During the testing window 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 and above for EOCs will continue to Phase 2. Student results will be shared with students and families as soon as scores are returned from the state.
    • 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. Timelines for Phase 2 completion vary by course, but generally students should expect to complete Phase 2 work within nine weeks. The outcomes of Phase 2 will be shared with students and families.

    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.
    • Coming soon: description of TCS CDM Phase 2 projects

    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 AIG Teacher.


    CDM Application

    CDM Frequently Asked Questions

    CDM Overview

    CDM Process Chart

    TCS CDM Teams


    Bar graph showing number of students attempting CDM, by course, with successful attempts marked in green.