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Academic Decathlon

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Academic Decathlon Buchanan Academic Decathlon Adviser: Alyssa Lomier alyssalomier@cusd.com
If you are Interested, have questions or would like more information See Ms. Lomier in Student Services.

What is Academic Decathlon?

The California Academic Decathlon is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes an educational experience providing a format in which teams of nine high school students compete in academic events. All California public and private high schools are eligible to compete. The Academic Decathlon embodies a partnership of business, foundations and individuals in cooperation with the education community and county offices of education. 

There are an estimated 500 high schools, approximately 13,000 students who participate annually in Academic Decathlon in California. The makeup of each of the nine member teams must include three A students, three B students, and three C or below students. 

Academic Decathletes take 30 minute multiple choice tests in the subjects of Art, Economics, Music, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science. In addition, each team member gives a planned 4 minute Speech and a 2 minute impromptu Speech, participates in a 7 minute Interview, and has 50 minutes to write an Expository Essay. 

The Super Quiz Relay, the final event, is open to the public and features questions from subject matters including Art, Economics, Music, Language and Literature, Science, and Social Science.

The Academic Decathlon season involves 4 rounds of competition. The United States Academic Decathlon publishes the curriculum in the Spring. Round 1 is a non-scoring scrimmage typically held in November. Round 2 consists of regional competitions held on the first Saturday in February. The winners of Round 2 plus a limited number of invited teams then compete in Round 3 which is the State Championship held in mid-March in Sacramento. As a result of the State Championship, California sends the top two winners onto Round 4, the USAD Nationals held in late April. 

Since national competition began in 1982, California has performed in a superior manner, winning 20 national titles and posting 12 second place finishes.

2018-2019 Curriculum

United States Academic Decathlon® Curricular Topics for 2018–2019!

The U.S. Academic Decathlon® is excited to announce that the overall curricular theme for 2018–2019 will be The 1960s: A Transformational Decade. Following is some general information on the topics in each of the subject areas.

  • SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to laser technology and its applications.
  • LITERATURE: The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature will be the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.
  • ART: The art curriculum will include a section on art fundamentals and will largely focus on an introduction to the art of the 1960s.
  • MUSIC: The music curriculum will provide an introduction to the music of the 1960s.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum will cover U.S. history in the 1960s.
  • ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and will also include a thematic section on the U.S. economy in the 1960s.
  • MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover permutations and combinations, algebra, and statistics.*


The full subject area outlines will be posted on the U.S. Academic Decathlon® website www.usad.org on May 1 and will also be published in the U.S. Academic Decathlon® Study Guide, which will begin shipping on May 15.

* The 2018–19 mathematics curriculum and materials will be the same as were used for the 2015–16 U.S. Academic Decathlon®.

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