Academic Decathlon is available at each of our traditional high schools. This unique competition presents students with the opportunity to work as a class to earn a spot on the team that competes at the event. Through the year leading up to the event, students study information about a topic within the context of several different areas of study.
The 2021 theme is “The Cold War.”
Below are some background and logistical information about this competition from the Texas Academic Decathlon Website.
The Academic Decathlon program was inaugurated in 1968 by the Orange County (California) Academic Decathlon Association in cooperation with the Orange County Superintendent of Schools office. The program was initiated in order to provide an opportunity for high school students to experience the challenges of rigorous academic competition through participation in ten activities.
In 1979, the first statewide Academic Decathlon competition day program was held in California. Texas, in 1984, competed in its inaugural effort and won the national championship. Presently, a national program is held each spring throughout the United States. The 1987 contest was held in Dallas, and in 1988 and 2000 contests were held in San Antonio. High school teams from throughout the United States (as well as Canada, China, and Great Britain) are invited to compete for honors. Texas currently has eleven regions of competition with over 245 high schools participating.
A unique aspect of the Decathlon format is that it is designed to include students from all academic backgrounds. Each “nine member” team may have three students whose grade point average falls in the “C” or Varsity category, three students in the “B” or Scholastic category, and three students in the “A” or Honor category. While nine students may compete, the final team score comes from the sum of the scores of the top two varsity, the top two scholastic, and the top two honor students. A perfect team score is 60,000 points (6 students x 10 events x 1000 points possible per event (top 2 V, top 2 S, top 2 H x 100)).
Ten Events of the Decathlon
- Art: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Economics: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Language/Literature: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Music: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Science: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Social Science: 50 questions with a value of 20 points each
- Math: 35 problems with a value of 28.571 points each
- Essay: 50-minute paper on a prompt from language/literature or from Super Quiz. Highest score is 1000 points.
- Interview: Panel of three judges conducts a seven-minute interview and three scores averaged with a maximum score of 1000 points.
- Speeches: Panel of three judges rates a four-minute prepared speech (700 points) and a two-minute impromptu speech (300 points).
The Super Quiz event will have questions taken from events 1-7 above.