Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)

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 North Carolina's Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) option, uniquely qualified students may "test out" or bypass a course if they have already mastered the content.

CDM provides opportunities for students to learn new content, to challenge themselves with independent study, to move into an advanced course earlier, or to create room in their schedule to explore new fields or pursue enriching electives.  

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


  • CDM Phase 1 - during the testing window, students take an exam to demonstrate that they have mastered many of the essential standards of the selected course. Students with a score of 90 and above on CTE post-assessments, NC Final exams, and locally developed 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.
  • CDM Phase 2 - if eligible to continue to Phase 2, students undergo a local evaluation process to demostrate a deep understanding and knowledge of the content. This evaluation may include compiling a portfolio; creating new artifact(s) such as a written paper or multimedia presentation; giving an oral defense or presentation; and/or participating in an interview. Timelines for Phase 2 completion vary by course, but generally students should expect to complete Phase 2 work within nine weeks. A school-based committee determines the outcome of Phase 2. Results will be shared with students and families.
  • Students must complete and return the CDM Application (in Resources, below) to their school counselor or the AIG Coordinator.Applications drive local development of CDM Phase 1 exams and Phase 2 projects.

Spring 2020 testing window:
 February 17-28, 2020

Students may apply only for CTE, NC Final, and local CDM exam subjects which already have established Phase 2 projects; students may not apply for EOC subjects or for English courses. Application deadline Friday, Jan 24.

Summer 2020 testing window: July 20-31, 2020

Students may apply for End-of-Course, CTE, NC Final, and new or established local CDM exam subjects, but note there are two different deadlines.  A list of established local subjects can be found here

  • Applications for new subjects due Friday, March 27, 2020
  • Applications for established subjects due Friday, May 22, 2020

COVID-19 may affect CDM for English 10:
The Eng10 EOC was to be renormed during the 2019-2020 school year, but that process is incomplete with COVID-19 affecting spring End-of-Course testing. This may impact CDM exam availability for English 10.  More details will be posted as the situation unfolds.  Thank you for your patience.  

Fall 2020 testing window: mid- to late September

Students may apply only for CTE, NC Final, and local CDM exam subjects which already have established Phase 2 projects; students may not apply for EOC subjects. Applications deadline TBA

Course selection

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Healthful Living, and some Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are not eligible for CDM. The CDM Overview, linked below, includes the complete list of courses for which students may pursue CDM.

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, AIG Teacher, or the AIG Coordinator.

 Application & Resources

CDM Application

CDM Slideshow for Parents/Families

Google Class with CDM resources for TCS Students  
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CDM Frequently Asked Questions

CDM Overview

CDM Process Chart


Bar graph showing TCS CDM results to date

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