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    Credit by Demonstrated Mastery

    Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) is the process by which a student may earn credit for a high school course by demonstrating a deep understanding of the content of the course without course enrollment or seat time.  Based on student academic progress and need, CDM offers students the opportunity to personalize and accelerate their learning.


    In order to receive Credit by Demonstrated Mastery, students are required to complete a two-phase process:

     Phase 1:  Completion of Exam/Assessment (i.e. EOC, local assessment, etc.)

    Phase 2:  Completion of District Identified Artifact which demonstrates the ability to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standards.


     Frequently Asked Questions 


    1.   What is Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)?

     Credit by Demonstrated Mastery is the process approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education  by which Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) 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 for the purpose of accelerating and moving into more advanced courses. “Mastery” is defined as a student’s command of course material at a level that demonstrates a deep understanding of the content standards and application of knowledge.

     Students will complete two phases for the application- Phase 1 is an examination; students who pass this exam can then move to Phase 2, which is completion of an artifact which demonstrates the student’s ability to apply the course knowledge through a real-world application.


     2.   Who can apply for Credit by Demonstrated Mastery?

     Credit by Demonstrated Mastery is available to all North Carolina Public Schools students in grades 9-12 and to middle school students (6-8) for  high school courses (e.g. Math I) that are offered in middle school.


     3.   How does the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery process work?

    Students shall demonstrate mastery through a two-phase assessment process.  

    Phase 1 includes the completion of an assessment such as an End-of-Course (EOC) exam or a North Carolina Final Exam (NCFE).  Students must score at Level 5 on an EOC or get 90% or more correct on an NCFE or CTE exam. Students then move to Phase 2 if they have successfully completed Phase 1.

    Phase 2 includes the successful completion of an Artifact process that demonstrates a deep understanding of the content standards and the ability to apply their skills and knowledge related to these standards.


     4.   How can I apply for CDM?

    WSFCS students are able to seek CDM in 3 windows throughout the school year.  Please see the attached CDM Timelines for the upcoming Spring Window. 

    The application window closes at midnight on January 29, 2021 for the Spring CDM window.  Please take a look at the timeline for further details related to this window. Spring CDM Timeline

    The Summer CDM window will be added soon.

    Please complete the following Application Form to apply. CDM Application


    5.   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/middle schools within WSFCS.  CDM is not available for courses which are not available within the district.


    6.   What high school courses can be taken for CDM?

    Students may earn CDM credit for most regular level high school courses.  

    The courses below are exluded from the CDM process:

    • Career and Technical Education (CTE) work-based learning courses (co-op, internship, apprenticeship)

    • CTE courses that have a clinical setting as a requirement of the course, such as ProStart, Early Childhood Education I/II and Nursing Fundamentals

    • CTE Advanced Studies courses or any course without state technical standards

    • English Language Learner (ELL) courses

    • Healthful Living required courses

    • AP/IB Courses


    7.   Can the CDM process be completed for honors level courses?

    No. The CDM process can only be completed for regular level courses.  CDM credits are awarded as a pass/fail and therefore do not impact a student’s grade point average.


    8.  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 NC Math 1 would not be permitted to receive CDM credit for NC Math 2.


    9.   How does the CDM policy and its implementation impact quality points and a student’s grade point average (GPA)?

    CDM credits are awarded as CDM in the gradebook, essentially like a “pass”, and will appear as such on the student’s transcript. No course grade is received and the course is not included in the GPA calculation.


     10.  What long-term considerations of CDM should I consider?

    Students and parents are advised to seek guidance from their school counselor or teacher on courses available in CDM including advancing the curriculum, effects on GPA and quality points, effects on athletic and extra-curricular activities, high school Diploma Endorsements, opportunities for early graduation, and effects on college enrollment.


     11.   Who can answer questions about the CDM process?

    Your school counselor can answer questions about the CDM process or contact Stephanie Williamson (swilliamson@wsfcs.k12.nc.us) in the Advanced Learning Department.