1. What is Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)?
Credit by Demonstrated Mastery is an option which allows students to demonstrate mastery of a course’s content, receiving credit and a pass/fail grade for the course by taking an assessment and completing an artifact. In 2013, the NC Dept. of Public Instruction instituted State Board Policy GCS-M-001-13: Credit by Demonstrated Mastery in order to ensure students grow optimally in our public schools and have effective seat time. Transitioning away from seat time, in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning. There are two phases to the application – phase 1 is an examination. Students who pass the exam with a 90% pass rate can then move to phase 2, which is completion of an artifact which establishes a student’s ability to apply knowledge in a real-world context.
2. Is a credit earned through the CDM policy intended to be “different” than a credit earned in the traditional manner (completing the course)?
No. Durham Public Schools will assess students and evaluate artifacts based upon the same standards that are applied to students earning course credit in the traditional sense. The achievement levels required to earn a CDM credit (i.e., assessment scores greater than or equal to 94% plus a required artifact) already reflect a more rigorous expectation of students who want to earn credit in this manner that those of students who complete the course with seat-time.
3. Who is eligible to request an opportunity to earn credit by demonstrating mastery?
All students in North Carolina Public Schools for high school courses in grades 9-12 and high school courses offered in grades 6-8 in middle school who are able to show a deep understanding of the content without seat-time and classroom learning experience is eligible
4. Is there a limit to the number of courses for which a student may earn credit using the CDM policy?
No. Students may earn credit using CDM for as many courses as they wish. However, students may only make one attempt per course. Students who are unsuccessful after one attempt must register for and complete the course to receive credit.
5. Can the school or district deny a student the opportunity to attempt to earn CDM credit?
No, the NC state board policy prohibits this. However, there are courses which are excluded from CDM by the state. Honors, AP, and IB courses are excluded, as are CTE work-based learning courses (co-op, internship, and apprenticeship), CTE courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement of the course, CTE Advanced Studies courses, English Language Learner (ELL) courses, and Healthful Living required courses.
6. May students earn CDM credit for honors courses?
No. CDM is only available for some standard-level courses. CDM credits are awarded as a pass/fail grade and therefore do not impact a student’s grade point average
7. Does CDM replace differentiation in meeting the learning needs of students?
No. CDM is not a replacement for differentiated services to meet the learning needs of all students.
8. May a student receive credit through CDM for a course not offered at his/her school?
Yes, but only for those courses offered at other high schools within DPS. CDM is not available for courses which are not available within the district.
9. How does CDM credit impact course prerequisites and sequencing?
When courses are taught in a predetermined sequence, a student may only apply for CDM for the next course in the sequence. For example, a student who has not taken Algebra 1 would not be permitted to obtain CDM credit for Algebra II.
10. Are credits earned through this policy accepted by outside organizations such as the NCHSAA, NCCCS, UNC-GA, and NCAA?
No. Students considering collegiate athletic should be advised that NCAA Division I and Division II colleges and universities do not recognize test-out credits in terms of meeting college entrance credit requirements, and therefore CDM is strongly discouraged for potential collegiate athletics. Credits earned through CDM shall be used to count toward minimum credits for the purpose of high school athletic eligibility.
11. May students earn credit by demonstrated mastery for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses?
Yes, with the exception of specific courses excluded by the NCSBE policy (work-based learning courses such as co-ops, internships and apprenticeships; courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement such as ProStart, Early Childhood Education I/II and Nursing Fundamentals; Advanced Studies courses). For CTE courses, an industry credential may be accepted as the required artifact component. Students will still be expected to complete the post-assessment, if one is available, or a teacher made exam if the state does not provide a post-assessment. If the student earns credit, the post-assessment score would be reported in the technical attainment performance measure.
12. May a student earn the CPR credit through CDM?
No. CPR is part of the Healthful Living requirement and NC State Board of Education policy specifically excludes CPR from CDM.
13. When a student earns credit by demonstrated mastery for a course, what should schools use to replace the course in the student’s schedule?
Generally, students should replace the course with the next course in the sequence, i.e. a student using CDM to earn a Math I credit should schedule Math II in its place. High school students might also use CDM credit to create space in their schedule that can be filled with a community college course available through Career & College Promise or other advanced course, such AP and IB. The NC Virtual Public School is also a source of courses for students who need to replace a course for which they have earned a CDM credit.
14. If a student chooses to earn credit by demonstrated mastery, will the student have to take that EOC for the course they passed through CDM?
Yes, students attempting to earn a CDM credit for a course with an EOC must take the EOC as the assessment component of the CDM attempt. A timeline with specific testing windows will be provided to applicants.
15. How does the CDM policy and its implementation impact quality points and a student’s grade point average (GPA)?
CDM credits are awarded as a “pass” and appear as such on the student’s transcript. No course grade is received and the course is not included in the GPA calculation. Failed attempts will not be reflected on a student’s transcript.
16. Can students graduate early based upon credits earned through this policy?
Yes. DPS recommends that early graduation decisions be made through discussion between parents, students, counselors, and school administrators.
17. Can students enrolled in a course decide to earn CDM partway through the course?
No, the CDM policy is for students who wish to accelerate without enrolling in a course
18. Can a student take a course after receiving credit by demonstrated mastery for that course?
No, DPS policy does not allow this.
19. Can students potentially stay at home and graduate?
No, the CDM policy does not relieve schools, parents or students of the requirement that students attend school until age 16. DPS requires that high school students keep a full course load except for seniors on track for graduation with their class. “On track” seniors are still required to take at least two courses. Earning credit by demonstrated mastery does not count in student attendance.