United States Academic Decathlon
|Founded||1968 as Academic Decathlon; 1981 as USAD|
|Founder||Dr. Robert Peterson|
|Founded at||Orange County, California|
|Type||Non-profit, public-benefit corporation|
The Academic Decathlon (also called AcDec, AcaDeca or AcaDec) is an annual high school academic competition organized by the non-profit United States Academic Decathlon (USAD). The competition consists of seven objective multiple choice tests, two subjective performance events, and an essay. Academic Decathlon was created by Robert Peterson in 1968 for local schools in Orange County, California and was expanded nationally in 1981 by Robert Peterson, William Patton, first President of the new USAD Board; and Phillip Bardos, Chairman of the new USAD Board. That year, 17 states and the District of Columbia participated, a number that has grown to include most of the United States and some international schools. Patton and Bardos served on the board in these two executive positions for the first 10 years of the USAD and not only personally contributed significantly both financially and in personal effort to the organization in those early day when there were no corporate sponsors they, along with Robert Peterson, were the major three factors in bringing corporate sponsors to the program during these challenging growth years eventually resulting in a financially self sustaining organization. In 2015 Academic Decathlon held its first ever International competition in Shanghai, China. Once known as United States Academic Decathlon, on March 1, 2013, it began operating as the Academic Decathlon.
Academic Decathlon is designed to include students from all achievement levels. Teams generally consist of nine members, who are divided into three divisions based on a custom calculated grade point average: Honors (3.75–4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00–3.74 GPA), and Varsity (0.00–2.99 GPA). Each team member competes in all ten events against other students in his or her division, and team scores are calculated using the top two overall individual scores from each team in all three divisions. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for individual events and for overall scores. To earn a spot at the national competition in April, teams must advance through local, regional, and state competitions, though some levels of competition may be bypassed for smaller states. Online competitions, separated into small, medium, and large categories, are also offered. USAD has expanded to include an International Academic Decathlon and has created an Academic Pentathlon for middle schools.
The ten events require knowledge in art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science. These topics, with the exception of math, are thematically linked each year. One of the multiple choice events, alternating between science and social science, is chosen for the Super Quiz. In addition to the seven objective events, there are three subjective events graded by judges: essay, interview and speech.
Over the years, there have been various small controversies, the most infamous being the scandal involving the Steinmetz High School team, which was caught cheating at the 1995 Illinois state finals. This event was later dramatized in the 2000 film Cheaters. Academic Decathlon has been criticized by educators for the amount of time it requires students to spend on the material, as it constitutes an entire curriculum beyond the one provided by the school. Around the turn of the millennium, several coaches protested the USAD's decision to publish error-ridden Resource Guides rather than provide topics for students to research.
Academic Decathlon was founded in 1968 by Robert Peterson, the superintendent of schools in Orange County, California. Marvin Cobb, the executive director of the California Academic Decathlon in 2003, said after Peterson's death that Peterson intended the competition to encourage not only the highest-level students who already competed in academic competitions ("[adding] a little glory," as President of the Orange County Academic Decathlon Association put it in 1970), but also to "change C students' lives". The inaugural competition, held in December 1968, hosted 103 students from 20 local high schools. At first only regional contests were held, organized by the Orange County Academic Decathlon Corporation (OCAD) with the assistance of the Orange County Department of Education. In 1971, when the grand jury recommended that the Orange County Department of Education should no longer play a part in the competition, full control was handed over to the OCAD.
In 1979, the first statewide competition was held, and just over two years later, the newly formed United States Academic Decathlon Association held the first national competition in April 1982 at Loyola Marymount University in California—200 high schools from 16 states and the District of Columbia competed for the chance to attend. Peterson, inspired by the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, hoped to make Academic Decathlon an international event. At the 1984 Nationals, 32 states as well as Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and South Korea fielded teams. The inclusion of foreign countries did not become a regular occurrence, however. There was no more international participation until 1989, when teams from Northern Ireland and Rio de Janeiro competed. Since then, only a handful of international schools have competed.
After a 1986 trial competition, Dr. Peterson founded a "International Decathlon for Academics" in 1990. Competitions were held in 1990, 1991 and 1992, but for a number of reasons the competition did not continue. In April 2009, USAD announced that it would be regularly hosting an online international competition, the International Academic Decathlon, after a successful trial event in 2008; however, all 2009 participants but Southbank opted out, leading USAD to issue Southbank an invitation to attend the 2009 U.S. National Competition instead.
Academic Decathlon was originally organized differently than the current competition. The original ten events were aesthetics (music and visual arts), conversation, essay writing, mathematics, practical arts, formal speech, physical science, social science, current events, extracurricular activities, and English literature, grammar, and reading. Over time, those events evolved into: economics, essay, fine arts, interview, language and literature, math, science, social sciences, speech and Super Quiz. It was not until 1998 that fine arts was split into its two constituent tests: art and music. Due to this division, the Super Quiz took the place of one of the other subjects each year. In 1998, Super Quiz replaced economics; from 1999 until 2012, it replaced either science or social science and alternated replacing the two from 2003 to 2012. Beginning with the 2013 season, the Super Quiz consisted of a relay portion only, encompassing questions from the respective year's Science, Language and Literature, Music, Social Science, Art, and Economics curriculum.
More than just the events were changed during the 1998–99 season—the style of study required of students changed. Prior to that season, students had performed their own research for each event, and test writers did not have to base their questions on material USAD published. However, after a policy change at the beginning of the 1999–2000 competition year, test writers were required to base the tests on official USAD materials. After the change in policy, scores vastly increased across the country. That year at Nationals, James E. Taylor High School had the highest team score yet seen at the competition. The following season, USAD once again altered their testing policies; 50% of test questions were to come from USAD published "Resource Guides" and 50% were to come from unspecified sources. Economics focused on business organizations and profiles in individual enterprise rather than macroeconomics and microeconomics as it had for the previous 19 years. A decrease in scores followed these changes; the national winner that year, El Camino Real High School, scored 5,923 fewer points than James E. Taylor High School had the previous year. The following year, USAD settled on an organization of test materials that it would use for almost a full decade, with a mixture of questions from the provided material and independent research. A number of curriculum changes were reversed.
Though the events finally stabilized during the 2000–01 season, the USAD administration changed dramatically that year when the program's executive director, James Alvino, resigned. Alvino had written a religious article that had been included in that year's Super Quiz Resource Guide. His critics and the USAD Board regarded the inclusion as a conflict of interest, as the material was a persuasive essay that heavily pushed Alvino's point of view. The season was also significant in that it was the first year that states were allowed to send both their large and small school champions to the national competition. (Small schools are currently classified as those schools with fewer than 650 students.) However, this practice was short-lived and was discontinued after the 2002 season. Instead, a small school e-Nationals was introduced during the 2005–06 school year. The medium school e-Nationals was established two years later for those schools with between 650 and 1,300 students. In 2010, California Academic Decathlon announced that a large school e-Nationals would be held for the second-highest performing school in each state.
In 2009, USAD announced the launch of an "Online Middle School Pentathlon Program", a competition similar to Academic Decathlon, with only essay, language and literature, mathematics, geography or social science, and science as events. Either science or social science would be designated as the Super Quiz topic.
In 2010, it was announced that high school students who don't have access to a school team or whose team has been eliminated in an earlier round can participate in an online individual competition.
Team makeup and eligibility
The USAD requires a diversity of achievement within each team; teams must have students who fall into three categories determined by GPA. The Honors category is composed of students with GPAs between 3.80 and 4.0. The Scholastic category consists of students with GPAs between 3.20 and 3.799. The final group, the Varsity category, contains students whose GPA ranges from 0.00 to 3.19 (effective for the 2020-2021 competition year). USAD uses a modified GPA scale in which performance-based classes such as music, art or physical education are omitted from the GPA calculation. A grade counts for face value regardless of whether it is from an advanced placement, honors, regular or remedial class. An A is counted as a 4.0, a B as a 3.0, a C as a 2.0, a D as a 1.0, and a F as a 0. Only final grades taken from the previous two complete school years are used to calculate GPA.
A team typically consists of nine competitors: three honors, three scholastic and three varsity. However, since only the top two scores from each category count towards the team's total score, a team can compete with as few as six students without any point deduction. Students may compete in a higher category than the one they are assigned to, but generally it is to the students' advantage to compete in the lowest category they can. Scores in Varsity are typically lower than those in Scholastic, and those in Scholastic are typically lower than those in Honors.
Levels of competition
There are four official levels of competition: local/scrimmage, regional, state, and national (Rounds 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively). With the exception of Round 1, only the top finishers in each round advance to the next level. California, the state with the largest Academic Decathlon, holds local scrimmages using the Round 1 tests, which are largely for practice and do not determine whether a team can compete at the regional level, which uses Round 2 tests. In the 2008–09 season, 43 states participated in statewide Academic Decathlons, though only 35 and an international school participated in the national competition.
Like an athletic decathlon, the Academic Decathlon has ten events: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, math, music, science, social science, and speech. Prior to 2013, the Super Quiz replaced one of the seven objective events each year; from 2003–2012, it alternated between replacing science and social science. USAD releases the topics and theme of the following year's competition in early March, giving students time to prepare for a competition season that runs from November to April. The curriculum is developed by a ten-member panel of former USAD coaches known as the USAD Curriculum Advisory Group. The group contracts with "curriculum developers", who must have at least a bachelor's degree in their respective subject, to create the subject area outlines, Resource Guides, and Notebook Dividers. The Super Quiz Resource Guide was formed mostly from articles from peer reviewed journals, but also includes non-peer reviewed articles, which are looked over by a panel of five reviewers and then checked for accuracy by another reviewer. Use of this format was continued for the Science packet in the 2012–2013 season.
The events are split up into two groups: the seven objective tests (art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science) the three subjective events (essay, interview and speech). In addition, there is a SuperQuiz relay event. The former seven are given as half-hour multiple choice tests, whereas the latter three are graded by judges. The multiple choice exams consist of 50 questions each, with the exception of math, which has 35 questions. Beginning in the 2012–2013 season, the SuperQuiz written test was dropped and the oral relay was changed to include questions from six of the objective subjects: art, economics, language and literature, music, science, and social science.
In general, the objective events follow a set organizational outline from year to year. Language and literature focuses on a single novel or a set of plays in addition to multiple short literary selections which tend to be poems or excerpts from short stories. The art and music sections include several selections with which students must familiarize themselves in addition to historical information. Economics remains fairly static; 85% of the material focuses on a standard course of macroeconomics and microeconomics and the remaining 15% focuses on the year's topic. For example, in 2005 the themed material covered the economics of ancient Egypt and Rome. Science and social science reflect the season's theme. Unlike the other events, there is no basic information that carries over. The math curriculum has varied as well, occasionally dropping and adding new subjects or shifting the weight of particular subjects.
|1994–1995||Health, Wellness, and Biotechnology|
|1995–1996||Competition and Cooperation|
|1996–1997||Communication and Culture|
|1997–1998||Looking Outward: Forces Shaping Society|
|1998–1999||Looking Inward: Developing a Sense of Meaning|
|1999–2000||Looking Forward: Creating the Future|
|2000–2001||Understanding the Self|
|2002–2003||Understanding the Natural World|
|2003–2004||America: The Growth of a Nation|
|2004–2005||Exploring the Ancient World|
|2005–2006||The European Renaissance: Renewal and Reform|
|2006–2007||China & its Influence on the World|
|2007–2008||History of the Civil War|
|2008–2009||Latin America with a focus on Mexico|
|2009–2010||The French Revolution|
|2010–2011||The Great Depression|
|2011–2012||The Age of Empire|
|2013–2014||World War I|
|2014–2015||New Alternatives in Energy: Ingenuity & Innovation|
|2016–2017||World War II|
|2018–2019||America in the 1960s|
|2019–2020||In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness|
|2020–2021||The Cold War|
|2021-2021||Water: A Most Essential Resource|
For a more detailed list, see United States Academic Decathlon topics.
The format of the Super Quiz differs from that of the other subject areas. Added in 1969, it offers a culminating championship event. The Super Quiz consisted of a forty-question multiple choice test as well as a relay round until 2013. In 2013, the multiple-choice portion was eliminated and the relay portion expanded to include six of the objective subjects. Generally referred to as the Super Quiz Relay, it is the only event viewable by the general public. The relay starts with the Varsity students, followed by the Scholastic and the Honors students. Each group is given 10 or 15 questions, depending on the format decided by the state coordinator. These questions are read aloud to the audience and are printed or projected for the competitors. After the questions and answers are read, the students are allowed seven seconds to select the correct answer. The answer is checked on the spot by a judge and scores are immediately displayed to the audience.
The subjective events allow students more creativity than the objective events. The speech event is divided into prepared and impromptu sections. A three-and-a-half to four-minute long prepared speech is delivered. The student is then given one minute to read three prompts and deliver a one-and-a-half to two-minute impromptu speech. Example prompts have included: "It has been said about our modern times that, 'Necessity is the mother of invention' Please discuss.", "Math has been described as the universal language. Discuss." and "Why is light, light and dark, dark?" In the interview, the students are asked a wide variety of questions in a formal environment. Questions range from: "Who is your role model?" to "How would you alert someone that their zipper is down?" In both the speech and interview, the competitor is not allowed to reveal his or her school or hometown to ensure neutrality by the judges. In the essay event, students are given 50 minutes to write an essay responding to one of three prompts derived from the language and literature or the Super Quiz curriculum.
Themes and topics
As the competition has evolved, more of the events have been tied into a central theme. For example, the 2008–2009 theme was "Latin America with a focus on Mexico". Language and literature was based on six short selections of literature as well as the novel Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. Art focused on the art of Mexico and featured several pieces of work, ranging from Olmec earthenware to José Guadalupe Posada's La Calavera Catrina. The music event included questions on Latin American music and included works by musicians as varied as Manuel de Zumaya, Silvestre Revueltas, Ástor Piazzolla and Xavier Cugat. Social science and economics focused on the history and economy of Mexico respectively. The Super Quiz covered an introduction to evolutionary biology, the historical development of the theory of evolution, natural selection, speciation, mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, and evolutionary developmental biology. Information was also included on Charles Darwin's voyage aboard HMS Beagle.
The United States Academic Decathlon publishes a variety of study materials for the objective events, the profits from which support the program. The Resource Guides and the Basic Guides constitute the majority of the USAD corpus. An art reproduction booklet and music CD contain a particular year's relevant pieces and are issued separately from the Resource Guides. Study guides are also published and contain detailed topical outlines for each objective subject. These outlines specifically indicate which topics will require independent research beyond the material included in the Resource Guides. USAD also offered Research Guides until 2010, which outlined the basics of what students ought to research. However, in the 2010–2011 competition season, USAD announced that it would be eliminating independent research-based questions from the competitions.
Resource Guides are offered for the art, economics, language and literature, music, science/social science, and Super Quiz events. The Super Quiz Resource Guide is a compendium of previously published articles, whereas the other Resource Guides are composed by individual writers under contract with USAD. The aim of the Resource Guide is to assist students in their study of the topics listed in the subject area outlines. As an example, in 2003 the music topic was Romantic music. Subsequently, the Music Resource Guide focused on the development of Romantic music, its characteristics and the influence of the Classical era on the Romantic era. A large part of the guide focused on information about that year's composers: Beethoven, Berlioz, Rossini, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Mussorgsky, Wagner, Bizet, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Strauss. Similarly, the art topic assigned was Romantic art in the European tradition. The Art Resource Guide included sections detailing the lives and works of relevant artists such as Joseph Mallord William Turner, Claude Monet, Albert Bierstadt, and Camille Pissarro.
In the 1990s, various companies were established to research subjects and provide practice tests to teams. Two of the major ones were Acalon Cards and Exams and DemiDec, formed by former coach Dan Spetner and former Decathlete Daniel Berdichevsky, respectively. The two offer exams and study guides that can augment or replace USAD's official materials. USAD explicitly discouraged teams from ordering materials from third-party companies in the late 1998, though it later removed their discouragement from the curriculum page. USAD republished their discouragement just a few weeks after removing it, but did not publish such a warning in 2002.
In 2000, several coaches who had led their teams to Nationals during the 1990s resigned in protest over Academic Decathlon's decision to sell nearly $1,000 of study materials rather than simply providing topics for students to independently research. Teams felt obligated to buy the guides because USAD based the official tests on them. Teams also denounced the hundreds of errors they found in the official guides; coaches were sometimes forced to instruct their students to deliberately give the wrong answer in the official competition. Richard Golenko, coach of the 1996 J. Frank Dobie High School team that won the national competition, said that the decision to market guides shifted Academic Decathlon's emphasis to memorization over critical thinking. Coach Jim Hatem of Los Angeles and Coach Mark Johnson of El Camino's 1998 winning team fumed over esoteric "trick" questions that USAD had begun asking. James Alvino, USAD's executive director at that time, argued that the expensive study materials were necessary to continue funding nearly 75% of the program's $1,750,000 operating budget and to provide a fairer playing field for less wealthy schools, but did acknowledge that USAD would attempt to reduce prices, remove the more trivial questions, and base smaller portions of the tests on the official Resource Guide.
Basic Guides were formerly issued for students which, unlike the Resource Guides, remained the same from year to year. The Art Basic Guide focuses on art fundamentals, such as the elements of art, principles of composition, and different 2-D and 3-D techniques. Additionally, a brief introduction to art history is included. The Economics Basic Guide reviews fundamental economic concepts in addition to the basics of macroeconomics and microeconomics. The Language and Literature Basic Guide provides students with a basic grounding in the analysis of literature and introduces key terms such as synecdoche, metonymy, assonance, and aphorism. The Math Basic Guide offers a general overview of major topics in high school math, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics. The Music Basic Guide begins by introducing the student to topics in music theory such as harmonics, rhythm, tempo, and the circle of fifths. It also includes information on a wide variety of instruments and a brief history of Western music. However, beginning in the 2010–2011 competition season, the Basic Guides were incorporated into the year's Resource Guides.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has criticized the intense amount of studying required by students as "excess fact-mongering". In the 1980s, the Association did not endorse Academic Decathlon, citing what it believes was an excessive amount of time involved with the studying necessary to win. It stated that while it is not opposed to the academic portion of the competition, it disliked the "national dimension" of it. However, beginning in 2008, the Association placed USAD on their "National Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities". The list consists of programs that a NASSP committee believes meets their requisite quality standards.
Scoring and winning
Each of the ten events is worth 1,000 points, for a possible 10,000-point individual total. Only the top two scores from the Honors, Scholastic and Varsity divisions are counted for the team score. Until 2013, 60,000 was the maximum possible team score. In 2013, Super Quiz became a 10,000 point event that only counts for the team score, making the maximum possible team score 70,000. With the exception of math and Super Quiz, the objective tests each have 50 questions worth 20 points a piece. The math test is weighted more heavily, with 35 questions worth approximately 28.6 points per question. Until 2013, the Super Quiz written test contained 40 questions, each worth 15 points. Depending on the state director, the relay component of Super Quiz contained either 5 or 10 questions, each worth 80 or 40 points respectively. Starting in 2013, the Super Quiz contained only the relay component with 5 or 10 questions, each worth approximately 333.3 or 166.7 points respectively. The written test was sometimes omitted at the state level even before 2013 if a state director wished to weigh the Super Quiz Relay more heavily. Perfect scores of 1,000 in events are recorded regularly, and there have been cases of dozens of medal winners for a single event because of perfect and near-perfect scores. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in each event and for each division (Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity). All tying participants are awarded medals.
The medals' design is the "AD" portion of the official USAD logo, encircled by "United States" at the top, "Academic Decathlon" at the bottom, and four stars of increasing size on either side. Though the medals are given out only to winners of the competitions, teams can order them along with other study materials. The medals given at state and local competitions are of a different design than those given at Nationals.
The interview and speech events are graded by two to three judges. The scores from the judges are averaged to give a maximum of 1,000 points per event. The essay is graded with a rubric and is read by two different judges whose scores are then averaged. If the difference between the judges' scores differs by 200 points or more, then a third reader is asked to grade the student's essay. The two scores that are closest in value are averaged to give the final score.
A benchmark for the Decathlon elite is obtaining an individual score of over 9,000 points. It was not until 1992, 24 years after the program's inception, that Tyson Rogers achieved this feat at the national competition. Since then, numerous students have broken the 9,000 point barrier. The current highest individual score is 9,707.9, achieved by Hannah Lee from Wakeland High School at the 2019 Texas state regionals competition. State champion scores vary greatly from year to year. As an example, for the 2002–03 season, scores ranged from 24,785 to 49,910 points. National champion scores have been as low as 45,857.0 points and as high as 54,195.1 points. The 54,195.1 score produced by the 2016 Granada Hills Charter High School team at the National Championship stands as the record for the highest team score.
Three days before the 1995 Illinois state competition, Steinmetz High School obtained copies of the tests from the DeVry Institute of Technology, where the state finals were being held. The team was therefore able to look up and memorize the answers. The cheating allowed Steinmetz to beat perennial powerhouse Whitney Young Magnet High School, who had won the Illinois state finals in 22 of the previous 23 years. Six of the twelve students in the nation who scored over 900 points on the math test came from Steinmetz High School, prompting the Illinois state Academic Decathlon to suspect cheating. The Steinmetz team was disqualified after team members refused to take an alternate version of the test, and its coach eventually resigned. The incident was dramatized in the movie Cheaters.
Catholic Memorial High School coach John Burke was at the center of a dispute over the results of the 2003 Wisconsin state final. Confusion arose over a Catholic Memorial student's essay after the results of the competition were released. The essay had only received 390 points out of a possible 1000, and Burke contended that it had been scored improperly. He was well within his rights to contest the score; however, Gerhard Fischer, President of Wisconsin Academic Decathlon, said that the way Burke handled the appeal was "highly questionable" and inflammatory. Though Burke was reprimanded, parents of Catholic Memorial students believed the punishment, a three-year suspension for Burke and a one-year suspension for Catholic Memorial, was due to personality differences between Burke and Wisconsin Academic Decathlon officials. The controversy eventually led to a more thorough investigation of previous issues involving Burke. The Wisconsin Academic Decathlon Board discovered that Burke had previously been accused of "[m]ore than a year of repeated 'attacks' on another school's pupils, including allegations of cheating on tests and ineligibility."
The National Championship pits the winning school from each state against all the others for an overall title. Occasionally, a number of international schools compete as well. Schools compete based on size and are divided into three divisions (I, II, and III). However, this separation is limited to overall team score and overall individual score. Nine overall team medals are awarded: gold, silver and bronze for each division. Similarly, 27 overall individual medals are awarded: gold, silver and bronze for Honors, Scholastic and Varsity in each division. The top prepared speeches are honored at the Speech Showcase, while the rest of the medals—for example, gold in art for Honors, or silver in math for Varsity—are awarded to the top scoring persons during the awards banquet regardless of division. Other awards given out include the Kristin Caperton Award for overcoming personal or physical challenges, among others. Certain awards occasionally come with monetary prizes; these often vary from year to year. Since the first national event in 1982, all National Championship winners have come from three states: California, Texas and Wisconsin. As of 2019, Granada Hills Charter High School has won seven national titles in the past nine years.
In 2006, the small school virtual competition was created for schools with 650 or fewer students. Two years later, the medium school virtual competition was added to accommodate schools with a student population between 650 and 1,300. These two separate contests are held via the Internet and, as such, the interview and speech events are excluded. The remaining eight tests are completed on the computer and results are submitted electronically to USAD for scoring. Because only the seven multiple choice tests and essay are used, team scores are out of 48,000 points instead of 60,000. Although it is only a virtual competition, winning schools are awarded trophies and medals for their efforts. University High School, from Fresno, California, has won 6 of 7 Small School National Championships. Coached by Sean Canfield, the team has won both the California and National Small School titles for the past 6 years. UHS has a current enrollment of 465 students, yet placed 8th overall at the 2013 California State, competing against schools several times its size. According to USAD, the goal of the small and medium school competitions is to "enhance learning, growth and recognition". In 2010, the United States Academic Decathlon announced the beginning of a large school e-Nationals for the second-highest performing large school in each state.
In popular culture
Depictions of the Academic Decathlon have been featured in some films, including:
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Frequently Asked Questions". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
- "GPA Calculation – United States Academic Decathlon – Academic Decathlon". www.usad.org. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
- "HBO Takes a Look at 'Cheaters'". The Washington Post. May 14, 2000. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
- Singer, Amy (April 14, 1985). "The Schools; Academia's Bruising Super Bowls". New York Times. p. A19.
- Jones, Larry (April 23, 2000). "Credibility Gap for Academic Decathlon". Los Angeles Times. p. B17. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
Coaches and students found literally hundreds of errors. If USAD was notified, it often issued corrections on its Web site. This forced students to re-memorize facts. Then there were errors in the corrections. Students didn't know which information competition tests would utilize. Coaches were put in the position of telling students to intentionally give a wrong answer if the question appeared to come from USAD's wrong information.
- Gorman, Anna (April 12, 2000). "Top Coaches Lead Protest of Decathlon". Los Angeles Times. p. B–1. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Caldwell, Tanya (March 13, 2006). "L.A. High Wins State Decathlon Super Quiz". Los Angeles Times. p. B3.
- "Huntington Tops Decathlon Test". Independent Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. November 22, 1970. p. 32.
- Luna, Claire (June 7, 2003). "Robert Peterson, 82; Educator Founded Academic Decathlon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
Peterson, who retired as county superintendent in 1990, profoundly affected students when he created the Academic Decathlon in 1968, educators said. He envisioned a new kind of competition that would give students of different achievement levels a chance to shine. Other academic contests, he said, rewarded only top-level students who didn't need the motivation. Peterson's remedy was to require decathlon teams to include B and C students along with A students for the 10-event contest, which includes math, art and speech. The program gives A students the chance to show their strengths and B students the chance to improve, but most important, it has the power to change C students' lives, said Marvin Cobb, executive director of the California Academic Decathlon.
- Geivet, Bob (November 28, 1968). "Students Compete for Orange County Academic Honors". Independent. p. 38.
- "103 Participate in pioneer project". Los Angeles Times. December 6, 1968. p. D2.
- "Second Academic Decathlon". Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. November 5, 1969. p. 80.
- Seelye, Howard (December 11, 1969). "Statewide Academic Decathlon Urged". Los Angeles Times. p. E7.
- Geivet, Bob (December 27, 1971). "Education department not needed, says Orange Co. jury". Independent.
- "A History of the United States Academic Decathlon" (PDF). United States Academic Decathlon. January 1, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 3, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- "Texas Academic Decathlon". Texas Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
- Mathews, Jay (April 23, 1991). "Area Students Make Showing in Academic Decathlon and Win Honors". The Washington Post. Los Angeles. pp. B1.
- "Scholarship is smart business". Industry Week. April 19, 1982. p. 29.
- "Move over Olympics; the thinkers are here". Industry Week: 102. June 15, 1981.
- Singer, Amy (April 14, 1985). "The Schools; Academia's Bruising Super Bowls". The New York Times. pp. 12, 19.
- Foster, Catherine (April 26, 1989). "Decathlon for Mental Gymnasts". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 13 (Ideas).
- For a list of schools not from states of the United States of America that have competed in the National Championship, see the following link:
- "Champion Team in International Academic Decathlon at Pacific American School in Hsinchu, Taiwan (亞太美國學校)". Pacific American School. May 22, 2008. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
On May 1st, PAS put 9 students to the test to compete with other International Schools worldwide.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : International Academic Decathlon". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
- "1998 Curriculum". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 11, 1998. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
- Quinn, Jessica. "Super Quiz". Fresno County Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on September 10, 2004. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon: Curriculum Topics and Theme". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Wolcott, Holly J. (February 7, 2000). "Simi High Advances to State Contest in Academic Decathlon; Education: Defending national champion Moorpark High places second at county level, but may compete further as a wild-card selection". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
- Hetzner, Amy (March 11, 2000). "Waukesha's Catholic Memorial makes it a four-peat in Academic Decathlon, School sets state record for points, looks forward to national competition". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- "State_Records". Wisconsin Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
- Bakalis, Anna. "Moorpark wins state academic decathlon". Ventura County Star. Archived from the original on May 22, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- "Program Materials". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on November 19, 2000. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
- "Outlines". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on June 21, 2000. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
- Ritsch, Massie (April 22, 2001). "Valley News; Real Genius; Competition: Woodland Hills' El Camino team captures the national Academic Decathlon title. It is the school's second title in three years". Los Angeles Times. p. B1 (Metro). Archived from the original on October 23, 2012.
- "Alvino to Leave Decathlon". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 10, 2001. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- Raisin, Amy (September 20, 2000). "Academic Resignation Decathlon Head Leaves Amid Dispute Over Article". Daily News. Archived from the original on March 18, 2010.
- "USAD 2002 National Competition Results". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on October 14, 2002. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Small Schools Competitions". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
- "USAD 2006 National Finals Small School Virtual Competition". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on July 7, 2006. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Medium Schools Competitions". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Scarberry, K. (February 18, 2010). "USAD to Host Four National Competitions for 2010". California Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : USAD Pentathlon Competition". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- "Academic Decathlon Individual Challenge". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- USAD Study Guide 2003–2004. United States Academic Decathlon. 2003. pp. 6–7.
- "California Academic Decathlon Website". California Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- "Kansas Academic Decathlon Challenges Outstanding Students From Two States" (Press release). United Student Aid Funds. February 26, 2008. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- "Academic Decathlon Study Guide 2008–2009. United States Academic Decathlon. 2008. p. 50.
- 2009 Academic Decathlon Competition Handbook: 2009 National Finals. Memphis, Tennessee: United States Academic Decathlon. 2009.
- 2009 Academic Decathlon Awards Program: 2009 National Finals. Memphis, Tennessee: United States Academic Decathlon. 2009.
- Art Resource 2004–2005. United States Academic Decathlon. 2004. p. 19.
- Erwin, Erica (April 30, 2006). "Erie Team Snares Silver". Erie Times-News. p. 1.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Curriculum Topics and Theme". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
The new curriculum information will be posted the first week of March every year.
- "Academic Decathlon". Wisconsin Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on May 29, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Curriculum Development Process". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Essential Information". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Art Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 1, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Music Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Economics Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- "Academic Decathlon : The Premier Scholastic Competition for High School Students". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 30, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Science Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Sacramento County Academic Decathlon". Sacramento County Office of Education. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- Pulaski, Lee (February 15, 1995). "Chino students win in academic competition". Chino Valley Review. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
The theme for this year was 'Health, Wellness, and Biotechnology.'
- "El Camino Real High tops 57 other schools" (fee required). San Jose Mercury News. April 27, 1998. p. 3B. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- Manning, Elizabeth (March 7, 1999). "Chavek students show grit" (fee required). Anchorage Daily News. p. A1. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- "Decathlon isn't just about winning" (fee required). The Modesto Bee. February 6, 2000. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- Jeter, Lynne (March 1, 2004). "High school students match wits in prestigious competition.(Olympic-styled U.S. Academic Decathlon )" (fee required). Mississippi Business Journal. Venture Publications: 13. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
"America: The Growth of a Nation," honoring the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is the theme for the 200304 [sic] academic decathlon season.[dead link]
- Lisa M. Sodders (November 16, 2003). "Vying for National Glory Preliminary Round of Academic Decathlon Tests Begin". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon Curricular Topics for 2021–2022!". www.usad.org. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
- Luo, Michael (March 11, 1999). "Academic Decathlon Returns to Its Orange County Roots; Education: High school competition started there in 1968. Now, 35,000 students nationwide participate". Los Angeles Times. p. Metro–3.
- "SQ Proctor Orientation". California Academic Decathlon. January 12, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 1970. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Academic Decathlon Study Guide 2008–2009. United States Academic Decathlon. 2008. p. 9.
- Baranowski, Greta; Daniel Berdichevsky (2007). Interview Resource. DemiDec Resources. pp. 16, 24, 27.
- Baranowski, Greta; Daniel Berdichevsky (2007). Interview Resource. DemiDec Resources. pp. 26, 28.
- "speech scantron" (PDF). Alaska Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 7, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "interview scantron" (PDF). Alaska Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 7, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- "Essay Reader Packet". California Academic Decathlon. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 1970. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
1. Students will respond to one of three essay prompts. Either two prompts will focus on the Super Quiz and one will focus on the selected literature, or two prompts will focus on the selected literature and one will focus on the Super Quiz.
2. Students have 50 minutes to pre-write, plan, organize, draft, and write a final version of their essay.
- Academic Decathlon Study Guide 2008–2009. United States Academic Decathlon. 2008. p. 8.
- Academic Decathlon Study Guide 2008–2009. United States Academic Decathlon. 2008. p. 1.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Curriculum Standards". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
The theme for the 2008–2009 Academic Decathlon curriculum is Latin America, with a focus on Mexico in some subject areas.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Language and Literature Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- Art Reproductions Booklet. United States Academic Decathlon. 2008.
- An Introduction to the Music of Latin America : The Official Academic Decathlon Music CD (CD back cover). United States Academic Decathlon. 2008.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Economics Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Super Quiz Curriculum Outline". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : Copyright Information". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on May 17, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
- "USAD brochure 2009". United States Academic Decathlon. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 1970. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
- Brezina, Bob (Fall 2010). "USAD Coaches' Fall Newsletter". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
- Music Resource 2002–2003. United States Academic Decathlon. 2002. p. 2.
- Art Resource 2002–2003. United States Academic Decathlon. 2002. p. 2.
- Landsberg, Michael (April 29, 2007). "El Camino quiz kids win again". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
Dan Spetner, a former decathlon coach whose Los Angeles company, Acalon Cards and Exams, specializes in preparing study materials for the competition
- Linthicum, Kate (April 24, 2010). "Smart, easygoing and indispensable; Decathlon's 'varsity' students keep the others loose and sometimes score big". Los Angeles Times. Omaha. p. 2.
- "Meet the DemiDec Team". DemiDec Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
Daniel Berdichevsky (a.k.a. DemiDec Dan) founded DemiDec in 1994.
- Berdichevsky, Daniel. "The DemiDec Story". DemiDec Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
[O]ur course of studies: exams, workbooks, resources, answer explanation guides, flashcards and other aids
- "1999 Curriculum". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on December 2, 1998. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
Purchasing study materials from commercial companies is a waste of money.
- "1999 Curriculum". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 23, 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
- "Program Materials". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on May 8, 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
All the resources you and your students need – the OFFICIAL MATERIALS OF THE ACADEMIC DECATHLON – are contained in these pages. Curriculum specialists and U.S.A.D. test writers develop our materials. You won't find better quality or more focused materials anywhere else.
- "USAD 2002–2003 Curriculum Intro". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003. Retrieved August 21, 2008.
- Cray, Dan (June 19, 2000). "Dumb Questions for Bright Kids?". Time. Los Angeles. 155 (25): 38.
- Gorman, Anna (April 16, 2000). "Academic Decathlon to Revamp Curriculum, Cut Price of Materials". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2009.
- Art Basic Guide. United States Academic Decathlon. 2003. p. 2.
- Music Basic Guide. United States Academic Decathlon. 2003. pp. 7, 11, 16, 23, 28–36.
- "Academic Decathlon: The Premier Scholastic Competition for High School Students". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2008–2009.
- "Program Guidelines". National Association of Secondary School Principals. 2010. Archived from the original on August 5, 2010. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
- "PHS wins academic decathlon". The Pittsfield Gazette. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- "Top 3 Individuals — Mathematics" (PDF). California Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 22, 2003. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- "California Academic Decathlon 2003 results Modesto Centre Plaza Double Tree Hotel Johansen High School March 7". California Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on August 22, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
- "may_orderform" (PDF). United States Academic Decathlon. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
P4061 Gold Medal—Each...$5.50
P4062 Silver Medal—Each...$5.50
P4063 Bronze Medal—Each...$5.50
- "Arizona Academic Decathlon Coach's Handbook". Arizona Academic Decathlon. p. 21. Archived from the original (doc) on July 25, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
- "Essay Reader Packet". California Academic Decathlon. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 1970. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
1.Each essay will be read independently by two scorers, and the average of these two scores will be the student’s final essay score.
3.If the scores given by the two scorers differ by 200 or more points, then the essay will be read by a third scorer. The final score of the essay will be the average of the two closest scores.
- Landsberg, Mitchell (March 29, 2007). "El Camino quiz kids win again; The Woodland Hills high school takes its fifth National Academic Decathlon title". Los Angeles Times.
- Proctor, Charles (February 7, 2007). "Granada Hills wins its first area decathlon; The charter high school will join seven other L.A. Unified campuses at the state academic contest next month". Los Angeles Times.
- Carmen Ramos Chandler (December 2, 1993). "Taft Academic Decathletes Celebrate Win". Daily News of Los Angeles.
- "Academic Decathlon Championship Teams Honored by President". PR Newswire. April 21, 1992.
- "USAD Competition: Winning State Scores". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 12, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
- Rojas, Rick (April 28, 2012). "Granada Hills wins Academic Decathlon with record-breaking score". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, Granada Hills clinched the national title, outperforming 32 other teams. And this year — with a score of 54,081 points — the students claimed the highest score ever at the national competition.
- Josephson, Michael (October 29, 2002). "Personal Story: Interview with Michael Josephson, Jolie Fitch". The America's Intelligence Wire. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
- Walsh, Edward (April 11, 1995). "Students' Stellar Showing Was a Sham; Chicago Teacher Helped Academic Decathlon Team Study Stolen Test". The Washington Post.
- Johnson, Dirk (March 31, 1995). "Chicago's 'Cinderella Team' Scholars Are Suspected of Cheating". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Student: High School Accused of Cheating This Year Did it Last Year". The Associated Press. March 25, 1996.
- Thomas, Monifa (February 17, 2008). "Whitney Young tops battle of brains again" (fee required). Chicago Sun-Times. p. A18. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- Hetzner, Amy (March 21, 2003). "Academic Decathlon investigated: Catholic Memorial coach at center of controversy". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Seibel, Jacqueline (May 28, 2003). "Coach vows to defy 3-year ban". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Sink, Lisa (March 24, 2003). "State Academic Decathlon disciplines school coach". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Hetzner, Amy (May 31, 2003). "Decathlon board speaks out on coach's discipline". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Collins, Michael (June 24, 2009). "Moorpark decathlon team meets President Obama". Ventura County Star. Washington. Archived from the original on January 13, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- Crosby, Sherry Joe (May 2, 1998). "El Camino's Decathlon Champs Get Half-Hour With Clinton". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
Up until 1993, national decathlon champs were rewarded with a trip to the White House. Taft High School of Woodland Hills, which placed second in the national finals in 1993, was the last local school to visit the White House.
- "United States Academic Decathlon : 2008 Nationals Champs!". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
- Vance, Christina (May 5, 2007). "University High wins U.S. contest: Fresno students take Academic Decathlon in small schools category". The Fresno Bee. Fresno, California. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United States Academic Decathlon.|
- USAD – The official website of United States Academic Decathlon
- The Official History of Academic Decathlon, as published by the organization.
- ADSIC – Academic Decathlon Scores and Information Center – A compilation of Academic Decathlon and Scholar's Cup scores