Priority: Globally Competitive Students
Category: Course for Credit
Policy ID Number: GCS-M-001
Policy Title: Course for Credit
Current Policy Date: 11/05/2015
Other Historical Information: Previous board dates: 05/05/1988, 08/02/2001, 02/07/2002, 12/05/2002, 07/01/2004,11/04/2004,05/03/2007, 06/05/2008,06/04/2009,10/01/2009, 12/02/2010, 12/06/2012, 12/06/2012, 12/06/2012, 12/05/2013, 05/01/2014, 08/06/2015
Statutory Reference: GS 115C-81
Administrative Procedures Act (APA) Reference Number and Category:
1. Each local board of education shall ensure that all required and elective courses have sufficient rigor, breadth, and depth to be awarded high school credit, in accordance with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
2. A high school principal shall award course credit toward high school graduation based upon a student’s demonstration of sufficient mastery of the standards for a course as defined in the NC Standard Course of Study.
2.1 Credit toward high school graduation may be awarded for: high school courses included in the NC Standard Course of Study, including those provided by the NC Virtual Public School; Advanced Placement courses; International Baccalaureate courses; locally developed high school courses; and public university, community college, and private college courses.
2.2 Course instructors shall provide instruction on the complete standards for the course as outlined in the NC Standard Course of Study, the Advanced Placement syllabus, the International Baccalaureate syllabus, or the locally-developed course syllabus, as appropriate.
2.3 The following credits required for high school graduation must be taken through the high school except where indicated otherwise:
· English – 4 credits
- English I: This credit may be earned in middle school;
- English II: This credit shall be earned through the high school;
- English III and English IV: These credits may be earned with appropriate college/university course sequences.
· Math – 4 credits
- Math I, Math II, and Math III: These credits may be earned in middle school;
- The fourth math credit may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence.
· Science – 3 credits
- Earth/environmental science: This credit may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- Physical science: This credit may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- Biology: This credit may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence.
· Social studies – 4 credits
- American History: Founding Principles, Civics and Economics: This credit may be earned in middle school. This course must follow the NCSCOS in its entirety and may not be satisfied by an AP/IB, dual enrollment or any other course that does not fully address the NCSCOS.
- World History: This credit may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- American History I and American History II: These credits may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence.
· Health and Physical Education – 1 credit
- The health and physical education credit may be earned with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- The CPR requirement may be met through instruction in the middle school, or by providing documentation of successful completion of an instructional program and/or test approved by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. [see GS §115C-81 (e1)]
· Electives and other credits – 6 credits
- Elective credits may be earned with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- First and second years of a World Language (required for students wishing to meet University of North Carolina (UNC) system Minimum Course Requirements): These credits may be earned in middle school or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence;
- Credit requirements added in the future may be earned in middle school for disciplines where such credit is currently allowed (English, math, science, social studies, and world languages), or with an appropriate college/university course or course sequence, unless explicitly prohibited in this or other State Board of Education policies.
2.4 Students may earn dual credit for any high school course and meet graduation requirements using an appropriate college course or combination of college courses. Principals shall award dual credit according to the Career and College Promise program guidelines established by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). For courses not addressed by DPI guidance, a principal may award dual credit for a college course if an evaluation of the course content against NC Standard Course of Study requirements demonstrates that the college course offers substantial coverage of the high school course standards.
2.5 College and university courses shall earn high school dual credit as specified below:
Semester Hours Credit
High School Credits
9 or more**
*For college courses having an associated lab component (such as math or foreign language lab), the combination of the course and the lab count as a single course and earn one credit only.
** These occur only in certain Career and Technical Education courses.
3. Students in grades 6-8 who pass English I and/or mathematics, science, social studies, or world language courses that are described in and aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for grades 9-12 may use the course(s) to meet high school graduation requirements. Such course(s) shall count toward meeting graduation requirements and the number of credits required to graduate, and shall appear on the high school transcript. These courses shall not be included in the calculation of students’ high school Grade Point Average (GPA). Student GPA shall be computed only with courses taken during high school.
4. An e-learning course qualifies for course credit if it meets the following requirements:
4.1 Any K-12 e-learning course taken for credit towards a diploma must first be approved for credit by the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS).
4.2 E-learning courses offering instruction in courses included within the NC Standard Course of Study must meet the Standard Course of Study competency goals and objectives. E-learning courses offered for AP or IB credit must align with the governing bodies of the AP and IB programs.
4.3 E-learning courses offering instruction in courses not included in the Standard Course of Study curriculum must have rigor, depth and breadth comparable to courses included in the Standard Course of Study. When determining whether an e-learning course has such rigor, depth and breadth, the NCVPS shall consider whether the course meets the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and/or International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) criteria for awarding credit or is offered for credit toward a degree by a UNC system institution, an institution in the North Carolina Community College System, or a regionally accredited college.
4.4 Where available, EOG tests, EOC tests, and post-assessments must be used as an indicator of student mastery. The student’s base school schedules and administers EOC and EOG tests. These scores shall be included in the determination of the base school’s state and federal accountability reports.
4.5 Enrollment in an e-learning “for credit course” shall count towards satisfying local board requirements related to minimum instructional days, seat time policies, student attendance, athletic and/or extracurricular obligations. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are instructed to be purposeful in establishing processes and procedures to enroll and manage such e-learning students in an environment where they can be successful.
5. Credit may not be awarded for school bus driving, office assistance, teacher assistance, or laboratory assistance.
6. Credit recovery shall be governed by the following definitions and parameters:
6.1 The term “credit recovery” will be used to refer to a block of instruction that is less than the entirety of the Standard Course of Study for that course. Credit recovery delivers a subset of the Standard Course of Study or blueprint of the original course in order to specifically address deficiencies in a student’s mastery of the course and target specific components of a course necessary for completion.
6.2 The length of credit recovery courses shall be dictated by the skills and knowledge the student needs to recover and not be a fixed length of seat time. When credit recovery is exercised, the original record of the course being completed and failed will remain on the transcript.
6.3 The LEA shall allow a grade pass or a fail for each credit recovery course. The mark will not affect the student’s GPA.
6.4 A student wishing to modify his or her GPA shall repeat a course for credit and not seek a credit recovery solution.
6.5 A local school board may not limit the number of credit recovery courses taken by a student prior to graduation.
6.6 The End-of-Course (EOC) exam associated with the credit recovery course may be administered no later than 30 days upon the completion of the credit recovery course.
7. Repeating a course for credit shall be governed by the following definitions and parameters:
Repeating a Course for Credit
7.1 The term “repeating a course for credit” will be used to refer to a high school course repeated via any delivery method when the entire Standard Course of Study for that course is being taught to the student for a second time.
7.2 Students are permitted to repeat a course for credit when they have failed a course. Local boards of education may develop policies that define specific circumstances when students other than those who fail a course may repeat a course for credit.
7.3 Students repeating a course for credit shall receive a grade and take the associated End-of-Course (EOC) assessment. Those students who have already scored at Level 3, 4, or 5 on the associated EOC assessment may elect either to retake the EOC or use the previous passing EOC score as at least 20% of their final grade. If the student retakes the EOC, the higher of the two scores will be used in the calculation of the final grade.
7.4 Beginning in 2015–16, for students who initially fail a high school course and repeat the course for credit, upon completion of the repeated course, the new course grade shall replace the previous grade for the course.
7.5 When a student repeats a course for credit and passes the course, the student only earns credit towards graduation once.
8. Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM)
8.1 Credit by Demonstrated Mastery is the process by which LEAs 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.
8.2 “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.
8.3 Credit by Demonstrated Mastery shall be available for all NC students in grades 9-12 for high school courses and in grades 6-8 for high school courses offered in middle school. LEAs may choose to make CDM available for students in grades 6-8 for middle grades content.
8.4 Students shall demonstrate mastery through a multi-phase assessment, consisting of (1) a standard examination, which shall be the EOC/EOG where applicable, or a final exam developed locally and (2) an artifact which requires the student to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standards. LEAs may require additional requirements, such as performance tasks. This multi-phase assessment process builds a body-of-evidence that allows a committee to determine if the student has a deep understanding of the standards for the course or subject area, as defined by the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, thereby earning credit for the course without experiencing it in the school setting.
8.5 DPI shall develop implementation guidelines for this policy. These guidelines shall provide guidance for LEAs regarding scoring of assessments as well as local implementation. The guidelines shall establish minimum scores for the standard examination and artifact creation. Students must attain minimum scores to earn Credit by Demonstrated Mastery.
8.6 The following courses are excluded from Credit by Demonstrated Mastery:
- 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;
- CTE courses in pilot and/or field test status;
- English Language Learner (ELL) courses;
- Healthful Living required courses;
- AP and IB courses; and
- Occupational Course of Study (OCS) Occupational Preparation I, II, III, and IV courses.