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United States Academic Decathlon
Official Logo
Official Logo
Type: Non-profit, public-benefit corporation[1]
Founded: Orange County, California,
1968 as Academic Decathlon,
1981 as USAD
Founder: Dr. Robert Peterson
Headquarters: Council Bluffs, Iowa[1]
Current champion: Moorpark High School, California
Website: http://www.usad.org

The United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) is an academic competition for high school students in the United States. The United States Academic Decathlon National Championship, first held in 1982, pits winners at the state level against each other for a national title.[2] The Academic Decathlon consists of 10 events: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, math, music, science, social science, and speech.[3] To solve the problem of the competition becoming a hendecathlon, the Super Quiz replaces one of the seven objective events; since 2003, it has alternated between replacing science and social science.[4] The Academic Decathlon requires participation from students of all levels of academic ability; teams generally consist of nine members, who are divided into three divisions based on grade point average: Honors (3.75–4.0 GPA), Scholastic (3.00–3.74 GPA), and Varsity (0.00–2.99 GPA). Though teams consist of nine members (three from each category), only the top two individuals from each category are counted in the final team score.[5] Each student has the possibility of scoring up to 10,000 points, for a combined team score of 60,000.

At the national competition, Schools compete based on size and are divided into three divisions (I, II, and III). However, this separation is only 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 rest of the medals—for example, gold in art for Honors, or silver in math for Varsity—are awarded to the top scoring persons regardless of division.[6]

In April 1982, the first Nationals was held at Loyola Marymount University in California—16 states and the District of Columbia participated.[7] However, the competition's founder, Dr. Robert Peterson, was inspired by the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He hoped to make Academic Decathlon an international event,[8] and so at the 1984 Nationals, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand fielded teams in addition to teams from 32 U.S. states.[9] 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.[10] Since then, a school from British Columbia, Canada, and an international school from London, England are the only two foreign competitors to have competed at Nationals, having done so in 2004 and 2009 respectively.[11][12][13] Since the first national event in 1982, there have been 28 national champions, all of which have come from three states: California, Texas and Wisconsin. The reigning national champion is Moorpark High School from Ventura, California, led by coach Larry Jones.

In 2006, the small school virtual competition was created for schools with 650 or fewer students.[14] Two years later, the medium school virtual competition was added to accommodate schools with a student population between 650 and 1300.[15] In 2010, the virtual competition was expanded to include large schools by allowing the second-highest performing school in each state to compete in a large school e-Nationals.[16] These 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. Despite it being a virtual competition, winning schools are awarded trophies and medals for their efforts.[17] According to USAD, the goal of the small and medium school competitions is to "enhance learning, growth and recognition" for more schools participating in Academic Decathlon.[14][15]

National winners

       New team record

Year Location Winner School Score Notes Reference
1982 Los Angeles, California Palo Alto, California The District of Columbia and 17 states participated at the inaugural competition.[18] [19]
1983 Los Angeles, California Palo Alto, California [19]
1984 Los Angeles, California J.J. Pearce, Texas This is the first year that drew competitors from other countries. Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and South Korea all participated.[20] [19]
1985 Los Angeles, California J.J. Pearce, Texas 46,976 [21]
1986 Los Angeles, California J.J. Pearce, Texas 46,435 [22]
1987 Irving, Texas John Marshall, California 49,369 Varsity David Florey from John Marshall records an individual score of 8,936 points. It stands as the highest score earned by a Varsity.[23][24] [23]
1988 San Antonio, Texas J.J. Pearce, Texas 46,669 [25]
1989 Providence, Rhode Island W.H. Taft, California 45,857 [26]
1990 Des Moines, Iowa Lake Highlands, Texas 46,627 [27]
1991 Los Angeles, California J.J. Pearce, Texas 48,946 [28]
1992 Boise, Idaho J. Frank Dobie, Texas 49,710 Tyson Rogers, an Honors from Mountain View Mesa, scores 9,100 points and is the first individual to break the 9,000 point barrier.[29] [30]
1993 Phoenix, Arizona Plano East, Texas 47,485 [31]
1994 Newark, New Jersey W.H. Taft, California 49,372 [32]
1995 Chicago, Illinois John Marshall, California 49,935 [33]
1996 Atlanta, Georgia J. Frank Dobie, Texas 49,835 [34]
1997 St. George, Utah James E. Taylor, Texas 52,260 [35]
1998 Providence, Rhode Island El Camino Real, California 52,131 [36]
1999 Orange County, California Moorpark, California 50,225 [37]
2000 San Antonio, Texas James E. Taylor, Texas 52,470 [38]
2001 Anchorage, Alaska El Camino Real, California 46,547 [39]
2002 Phoenix, Arizona Waukesha West, Wisconsin 48,871 [40]
2003 Erie, Pennsylvania Moorpark, California 51,423.5 [41]
2004 Boise, Idaho El Camino Real, California 50,656.8 [42]
2005 Chicago, Illinois El Camino Real, California 49,009.4 [43]
2006 San Antonio, Texas W.H. Taft, California 51,659.7 [44]
2007 Honolulu, Hawaii El Camino Real, California 52,148.4 [45]
2008 Garden Grove, California Moorpark, California 53,119.4 Moorpark records the highest team score ever, beating the Wisconsin team, Waukesha West, by 23 points.[46] Additionally, Alli Blonski of Waukesha West scored 9,321, the highest individual score in the competition's history at the time.[47] [46]
2009 Memphis, Tennessee Moorpark, California 51,289.5 [48][49]
2010 Omaha, Nebraska[48]

References

  1. ^ a b "United States Academic Decathlon : Frequently Asked Questions". United States Academic Decathlon. http://usad.org/faq.asp. Retrieved August 29, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Scholarship is smart business". Industry Week: p. 29. April 19, 1982. 
  3. ^ Erwin, Erica (April 30, 2006). "Erie Team Snares Silver". Erie Times-News: p. 1. 
  4. ^ Quinn, Jessica. "Super Quiz". Fresno County Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on September 25, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060925233926/www.fcoe.k12.ca.us/spc_proj/acadec/topics.html. Retrieved August 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ USAD Study Guide 2003-2004. United States Academic Decathlon. 2003. pp. 6–7. 
  6. ^ "United States Academic Decathlon : 2008 Nationals Champs!". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fusad.org%2FCompetition%2FWinners.asp&date=2009-04-11. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Scholarship is smart business". Industry Week: p. 29. April 19, 1982. 
  8. ^ "Move over Olympics; the thinkers are here". Industry Week: 102. June 15, 1981. 
  9. ^ Singer, Amy (April 14, 1985). "The Schools; Academia's Bruising Super Bowls". The New York Times. p. 12, 19. 
  10. ^ Foster, Catherine (April 26, 1989). "Decathlon for Mental Gymnasts". Christian Science Monitor. p. 13 (Ideas). 
  11. ^ Fausset, Richard (April 17, 2004). "Los Angeles; El Camino Real Comes in 2nd in Super Quiz". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ 2009 Academic Decathlon Competition Handbook: 2009 National Finals. Memphis, Tennessee: United States Academic Decathlon. 2009. 
  13. ^ 2009 Academic Decathlon Awards Program: 2009 National Finals. Memphis, Tennessee: United States Academic Decathlon. 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "United States Academic Decathlon : Small Schools Competitions". United States Academic Decathlon. http://usad.org/Competition/Small_Schools.asp. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "United States Academic Decathlon : Medium Schools Competitions". United States Academic Decathlon. http://usad.org/Competition/Medium_Schools.asp. Retrieved June 20, 2008. 
  16. ^ Scarberry, K. (February 18, 2010). "USAD to Host Four National Competitions for 2010". California Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on March 9, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5o767m5tS. 
  17. ^ Vance, Christina (May 5, 2007). "University High wins U.S. contest: Fresno students take Academic Decathlon in small schools category.". Fresno Bee. http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30694557_ITM. Retrieved July 23, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Scholarship is smart business". Industry Week: p. 29. April 19, 1982. 
  19. ^ a b c "USAD National Champs Since 1982" (pdf). California Academic Decathlon. http://www.academicdecathlon.org/USAD%20Chronology_Champs08.pdf. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
  20. ^ Singer, Amy (April 14, 1985). "The Schools; Academia's Bruising Super Bowls". The New York Times. p. 12, 19. 
  21. ^ Graham, Nancy (April 14, 1985). "Loses to Texas School Twice in 2 Years Beverly Hills 2nd in Academic Bout". L.A. Times: p. 1 (Westside). http://articles.latimes.com/1985-04-14/news/we-8567_1_beverly-hills. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  22. ^ Woo, Elaine (April 5, 1986). "2nd Again in Academic Meet Third Time Is Not a Charm for Beverly Hills". L.A. Times: p. 1 (Metro 1). http://articles.latimes.com/1986-04-05/local/me-21609_1. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  23. ^ a b Gordon, Larry (April 28, 1987). "John Marshall C Student Leads National Academic Decathlon L.A. School Smartly Outclasses the Field". L.A. Times: p. 1 (Metro 1). http://articles.latimes.com/1987-04-28/news/mn-2356_1. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  24. ^ "California Team Named 1987 U.S. Academic Decathlon Champions". PR Newswire. April 27, 1987. 
  25. ^ Pamela, Moreland (May 2, 1988). "Texas School Wins Taft High Team Loses Bid for Academic Title" (fee required). L.A. Times: p. 8 (Metro 2). http://articles.latimes.com/1988-05-02/local/me-1477_1_taft-high-team. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  26. ^ Enriquez, Sam (May 2, 1989). "Taft High Team Wins U.S. Title in Academic Competition" (fee required). L.A. Times: p. 1 (Metro 2). http://articles.latimes.com/1989-05-02/local/me-2523_1_taft-team-shawn-canter-super-quiz. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  27. ^ Marcano, Tony (April 23, 1990). "Laguna Hills 2nd in Battle of Scholars". L.A. Times: p. A3 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1990-04-23/news/mn-111_1_laguna-hills. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  28. ^ Sands, Shannon (April 23, 1991). "Laguna Hills Takes 2nd in Decathlon". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1991-04-23/local/me-717_1_laguna-hills. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Academic Decathlon Championship Teams Honored by President". PR Newswire. April 21, 1992. 
  30. ^ Chu, Henry (April 13, 1992). "El Camino is 4th in Academic Decathlon". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-13/local/me-207_1_el-camino. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  31. ^ Chu, Henry (April 26, 1993). "Taft Places 2nd in U.S. Academic Decathlon Competition". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1993-04-26/local/me-27582_1_woodland-hills-high-school-team. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  32. ^ Goldman, Abigail (April 18, 1994). "Taft High Wins 2nd Academic Decathlon" (fee required). L.A. Times: p. A1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1994-04-18/news/mn-47345_1_taft-high. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  33. ^ Guzman, Isaac (April 24, 1995). "Decathlon Goes to L.A.'s Marshall". L.A. Times: p. A1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1995-04-24/news/mn-58288_1_u-s-academic-decathlon. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  34. ^ Tamaki, Julie (April 22, 1996). "Valley School Is 2nd in Academic Decathlon". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-11/local/me-256_1_u-s-academic-decathlon. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  35. ^ Chuang, Angie (April 21, 1997). "Supporters Hail El Camino's Academic Team". L.A. Times: p. B3 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1997-04-21/local/me-50983_1_el-camino. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  36. ^ Helfand, Duke (April 28, 1998). "'A Once-in-a-Lifetime Thing'; El Camino High's Academic Champs Return Home". L.A. Times: p. B3 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/28/local/me-43784. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  37. ^ Gorman, Anna (April 21, 1999). "Ventura County News; Moorpark Champs Bask in Heady Revelry". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/1999/apr/21/local/me-29480. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  38. ^ Gorman, Anna (April 17, 2000). "Simi Valley High Finishes 2nd in National Academic Decathlon" (fee required). L.A. Times: p. B9 (Metro). http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/52698055.html?dids=52698055:52698055&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  39. ^ 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.". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). 
  40. ^ Klug, Foster (April 15, 2002). "Flexing their brain muscles serious sport to decathletes". The Seattle Times. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20020415&slug=brains15. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  41. ^ Sink, Lisa (April 27, 2003). "No repeat for Waukesha West". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=136700. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  42. ^ Fausset, Richard (April 22, 2004). "The Valley; El Camino Real Whoops It Up for National Champs". L.A. Times: p. B3 (Metro). http://articles.latimes.com/2004/apr/22/local/me-acadeca22. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  43. ^ Hetzner, Amy (April 17, 2005). "Waukesha West takes 3rd at national contest". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=319102. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  44. ^ Reitman, Valerie (April 30, 2006). "Woodland Hills School Wins 3rd U.S. Academic Decathlon". L.A. Times: p. B3 (Metro). 
  45. ^ Landsberg, Mitchell (April 29, 2007). "El Camino quiz kids win again". L.A. Times: p. B1 (Metro). 
  46. ^ a b Bakalis, Anna (May 6, 2008). "National fame could await decathlon champions". Ventura County Star. http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/may/06/national-fame-could-await-decathlon-champions/. Retrieved September 30, 2008. 
  47. ^ Michalets, Katherine. "West takes second at Academic Decathlon". GM Today. http://www.gmtoday.com/news/local_stories/2008/May_08/05032008_11.asp. Retrieved September 20, 2008. 
  48. ^ a b Devin, Jonathan (April 26, 2009). "Moorpark wins Academic Decathlon". Ventura County Star. http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/apr/26/no-headline---nxxfcacadecawrap26/. Retrieved April 26, 2009. 
  49. ^ "United States Academic Decathlon : 2009 Nationals Champs!:". United States Academic Decathlon. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fusad.org%2Fcompetition%2Fwinners.asp&date=2009-04-28. Retrieved April 28, 2009. 

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