Academic Decathlon » About High School Academic Decathlon

About High School Academic Decathlon

The Academic Decathlon is an educational competition designed for high school students from ALL academic achievement levels. Teams are comprised of 9 students, decathletes, who compete in 10 areas and an academic relay, SuperQuiz, to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency of a specific theme. Students participate in 30-minute objective tests covering Literature, Mathematics, Social Science, Science, Art, Economics, and Music separately. There is also a 50-minute essay, 4-minute prepared speech, a shorter 2-minute impromptu speech and a 7-minute interview for each student. A new topic of study is selected by the United States Academic Decathlon each year. For 2022-2023, the topic is the American Revolution!
Founded in 1968 by the late D. Robert Peterson, a former Orange County Superintendent of Schools, the Academic Decathlon continues to be an asset for all students involved. It provides a platform for students to utilize 21st century skills while challenging themselves and each other to be creative, think critically, communicate and collaborate to be a winning team. The program teaches practical life skills such as time management, organization, and interviewing.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), has been involved with Academic Decathlon since 1981, hosting both state and national competitions at various times. LAUSD has sent the greatest numbers of high scoring teams to state competition, 14 in 2018, and holds the record for the most state titles with twenty-three. District schools have won the National title nineteen times as well.
The success of the Academic Decathlon is shared by the students, their coaches and teachers, the supportive administrators at their schools and the understanding and flexibility of their families. Countless hours are spent learning, researching and practicing for the competitions.
  • To encourage students to develop a greater respect for knowledge.
  • To promote wholesome inter-school competition in academic areas of study and interest.
  • To stimulate intellectual growth and achievement.
  • To encourage public interest and awareness of outstanding programs in American schools.
Each school is to have a team consisting of a minimum of nine members, all of whom are to be students from the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and/or twelfth grades. The members are to include three students from each of the categories listed below.
Grade Point Average
Honor 3.80 - 4.00
Scholastic 3.20 - 3.79
Varsity 3.19 or below
1. Multiple Choice tests (all 50?s in 30 min.):
  • Art 
  • Economics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics (35?s in 30 min.)
  • Music
  • Science
  • Social Science
2. Essay (choose 1 of 3 topics, 50 min.)
3. Speech (3.5-4 min. & 1.5-2 min.)
4. Interview (4-7 min.)
5. SuperQuiz with GPA Category team (10 ?s)
2022-2023 High School Academic Decathlon Flyer: