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Watauga County Schools Director of Middle and Secondary Education Meredith Jones explains the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery initiative to the Watauga County Board of Education on Monday.
Photo by Allison Haver



Originally published: 2014-03-12 12:46:35
Last modified: 2014-03-12 12:47:20

Credit by mastery on tap for WHS students

by Allison Haver

Local high school students will soon have the opportunity to place out of certain classes by demonstrating they have already mastered the content.



Meredith Jones director of middle and secondary education of Watauga County Schools presented an initial overview of the Credit by Demonstrated Mastery initiative to the Watauga County Board of Education on Monday.



According to Jones, CDM is a process in which students may now earn a high school course credit by demonstrating a deep understanding of the content without course enrollment or seat time.



"In other words if a student can come to us and show before they take a course that they have already mastered at a high level the course content the state is now providing a way for the student to receive the credit for that course with out doing the seat time," Jones said.



The initiative has been put into the North Carolina State Board of Education policy and was originally passed by the state board in 2012 and revised in December 2013 according to Jones.



In a newsletter, the North Carolina state board said beginning with the 2014-15 school year; local school districts will be required to offer credit by demonstrated mastery to place high school students in courses for the following school year.



"The state department over the years has received several requests from students who found themselves in unique and special situations where they were operating in some content or another far above their fellow classmates," Jones said.



While AIG specialists and processes are used to differentiate student academic levels with K-8 classes it is difficult at the high school level with seat time and course requirements to help those unique students Jones said.



CDM was adopted by the state board to make sure students can personalize their education to optimally grow and have effective seat time to learn new content and to respond to the needs of students, families, AIG communities and school personal and leadership.



"This process is not intended for the masses," Jones said.



According to Jones the process will be rigorous enough that only four to five students would apply in a year.



"This is a process intended for our most advanced students, she said.

CDM is a multi-step process in which students must take an examination demonstrating foundational knowledge.



"If the course is an EOC course the student must take the End of Course tests for that course to show that showing they could already pass at a high level the End of Course test before even taking the class," Jones said.



Part two of the process is the student presenting an artifact that demonstrates application of knowledge of the course content. Artifacts could be a project, paper, research, interview or something else that exhibits course mastery.



Jones said that for a foreign language course having the students speak the language would be an appropriate artifact.



The last step would be any other evidence that the LEA deems necessary for the student to

The process will not include advanced placement courses and will only give credit at a standard level. The credit will not go towards the students' grade point average and will be listed as a pass/fail course.



The state board has made, for middle school students, the opportunity optional and has made it up to the school district's discretion.



Jones said she was in the process of talking with different stakeholder groups including the school board, the high school curriculum committee, school principals, the elementary curriculum committee, AIG specialists and the AIG advisory committee to begin getting community input and thoughts about the CDM initiative.



Watauga board member Brenda Reese said the initiative "has some exciting possibilities if you work out the details."



"Our charge for the next few months is to work out the details to make this a smooth and equitable process for students," Jones said.