Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)

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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 demonstrate 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.

Application & Testing Dates

Students must complete and return the CDM Application to their school counselor or the AIG Coordinator. Applications drive local development of CDM Phase 1 exams and Phase 2 projects.

Fall 2023 testing window September 18 - 29  -- application due Fri, Sept 8, 2023

Spring 2024 testing window Feb 16 - 29  -- application due Fri, Feb 9, 2024

Summer 2024 testing window July 18 - 31

  • applications for new subjects due March 15, 2024

  • applications for these existing subjects due May 24, 2024

  • see note below about World Languages

    TCS can develop CDM exams and projects for new subjects if students apply by the "new subjects" deadline above.

    Special note about World Languages

    TCS uses the AAPPL exam for Phase 1 of the CDM process for World Languages. The student’s score report will be interpreted according to the World Languages Course Codes for CDM Proficiency Levels to determine the highest level course appropriate for the Phase 2 project. If successful in Phase 2, the student earns CDM credit for that level course and places into the next level.


    How credits appear on transcripts & Next Steps


    Students who successfully complete the process will not receive a letter grade for the course; instead of a letter grade, the code "CDM" will appear next to the course title on their transcripts.

    With CDM credit, students are eligible to enroll in the next level course in that subject area.

    Students who do not earn credit will not be penalized, and results of the assessment process will not be reflected in their grades or on their transcripts. 

    Students may make only one attempt to earn CDM 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 the AIG coordinator.



    CDM Application

    Slideshow for Parents/Families

    Google Class with CDM resources for TCS Students  
    enrollment code zlu5dya

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Available subjects  additional subjects developed as students apply

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