Competency-Based Education Opportunities

According to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-15-216, schools can award credit to students based on their demonstration of competency in any content area.

What Is 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 without course enrollment or the minimum of 120 clock hours required by the Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools and School Districts. CDM offers Arkansas students the opportunity to personalize and accelerate their learning.

How do Districts Apply to Award Credit by Demonstrated Mastery?

A public school district may make application to award Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) through the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Course Approval System. The required superintendent’s assurance and optional CDM Plan Template that aligns to the tabs within the Course Approval System are available under Related Files on this page. Districts may enter the application information directly into the Course Approval System or may upload the completed plan template. A team of DESE content specialists will review the submission and provide feedback. The most current documents and information will always be available on the DESE website under Competency-Based Education Opportunities. 

How Does a Student Earn Credit by Demonstrated Mastery?

Students shall demonstrate mastery through a multi-phase assessment process.
  • Phase I: A standard examination/demonstration assessing course standards
  • Phase II: Submission and panel review of at least one artifact which requires the student to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standards
The CDM process is open to all students, but is not designed for whole groups of students. Likewise, it is not intended to replace the general accelerated pathways local school districts often provide for advanced students. Core academic and performance-based courses are both eligible for CDM. Demonstrated Mastery Phase Guidelines that outline assessment of each phase for each type of content are available under Related Files on this page.

For more information, please contact:

Kandys Triplet, M.Ed.

Course Program Advisor

Arkansas Department of Education

Division of Learning Services

Four Capitol Mall, Room 202-B

Little Rock, AR 72201

Phone: 501-682-3213


 Related Files