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Academic Decathlon


2018 Winners

Program Overview

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, Super Quiz, 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, 3.5-4-minute prepared speech, a shorter 1.5-2-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.

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.

The competitions are coordinated by LAUSD central office personnel. They are dependent on hundreds of volunteers to serve as speech and interview judges, essay readers, test and Super Quiz proctors. Schools are responsible for recruiting volunteers and central office works with alumni, District staff, community, and educational groups to ensure enough volunteers are present at each event. Schools are expected to recruit 4 volunteers, including one school administrator to serve as a volunteer during the 2 days of competition.

2018-19 Key Dates




May 22, 2018 

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Spring Coaches Meeting

Local District Northwest | Conference Room North

6621 Balboa Blvd Van Nuys, 91406

May 24, 2018

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Spring Coaches Meeting

LAUSD HQ Beaudry Building | Room 2-131

September 6th - valley

September 13th - central

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Fall Coaches Meetings

Local District NW room K

Beaudry 2-202

September 28, 2018

DUE:  Intent to Participate


November 3, 2018

7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Scrimmage Various Sites TBD

November 14, 2018

DUE: Team Registration Documents

  1. Team Selection Process
  2. Competition Roster
  3. Student Registration
  4. Transcripts
  5. GPA Worksheets
  6. List of volunteers
  7. Super Quiz Ticket order form (optional)
  8. Checklist

Submission of incomplete packets may result in team disqualification.

January 26, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Competition Day 1

Speech, Interview and Essay events

Roybal Learning Center

1200 Colton Street, Los Angeles 90026

February 2, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Competition Day 2

Objective Tests and Super Quiz events

Roybal Learning Center

1200 Colton Street, Los Angeles 90026


February 9, 2019

1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Awards Ceremony – Hollywood High School


March 21 – 24, 2019



State Competition – Sacramento, CA



April 25 – 27, 2019



National Competition – Minneapolis, MN




We need your help to support the upcoming competitions! Volunteers are needed. For a few hours on one day you can support student success and pride in academic achievements!

The Team

Each school is to have a team consisting of nine members, all of whom are to be full-time students (four or more classes) 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


3.75  - 4.00


3.00  - 3.74


2.99  or below

For details see 2018-2019 Participation and Procedures <PDF>

Competition Events

All nine team members will compete in all of the following academic events:

Objective tests: Art, Economics, Literature, Mathematics, Music, Science, Social Science
Essay, Speech, Interview
Super Quiz Relay
If a Decathlete does not compete in the essay, interview, and speech events on Day 1 of the competition, he/she will not be eligible to compete in the objective tests and Super Quiz on Day 2. The only exceptions will be granted for illness or family emergency. A written excuse from the parents/guardians and signed by the Coach will be required.




Join the fun!