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Academic Pentathlon and Decathlon Programs

Competition, it is not just for athletes. With the support of Beyond the Bell, over 500 high school and 200 middle school students are sharpening their academic skills and knowledge by participating in the Academic Decathlon and Academic Pentathlon programs.

Each team must consist of nine students: three students with an A grade point average, three with a B grade point average and three with a C grade point average. High school teams may have mixed grade levels (9-12) while the middle schools are grade specific, 6th, 7th, or 8th.  All students are required to read a novel, study, and grow proficiency in various academic subjects related to a specific theme.

Africa is the theme for this year.  Middle school students are reading the novel, “A Long Walk to Water” and high school students read “When Things Fall Apart”.  All students study content in the areas of Math, Literature, Fine Arts, Social Science and Science.  High schools also include Economics and Music in their studies.  Competition includes writing essays and taking objective tests related to the theme.

A highlight of the competition is the Super Quiz; a fast-moving mental relay where teams are rapidly responding to questions and prompts taken from the literature and curriculum they have studied.

Winners of the high school LAUSD competition will compete at the state level against schools representing all parts of California. Middle school teams will compete through the Orange County Department of Education in 1 of 7 divisions depending on their scores from the previous year.

 For many students this is the first time they have been involved in such intensive team building relationships with peers while studying.  Students realize that learning can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience while developing skills they will use throughout their lives.

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