The United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) is a program that provides high school students an opportunity to experience the challenges of rigorous academic competition through participation in team activities. In addition, the Academic Decathlon involves members of the business/industry as active supporters of a program promoting academic excellence. Long term relationships, developed through joint participation, benefit the students and the community.
Region and state contests are held for schools categorized as large, medium and small. Based on a point system, the highest scoring team represents Texas at the national USAD competition. All members of the winning team receive scholarships. Texas provides $150,000 in scholarship money each year. The Academic Decathlon is designed to include students of three academic levels. Each nine-member team consists of three Honor (3.8-4.0) students, three Scholastic (3.2-3.7999) students, and three Varsity (2.0-3.1999) students.
The Octathlon competition is comprised of eight events. There are six multiple-choice exams one in each of the following subject areas: economics, literature, mathematics, social science, science, art and music. The Super Quiz event is an oral relay over all subjects. Students will also take an essay exam based on the assigned literature and theme content of materials provided for the Texas Academic Decathlon. This competition is for ninth and tenth-grade students. If a student competes in the Octathlon competition, he/she CANNOT also compete in Decathlon.
USAD offers Resource Guides in art, economics, literature, music, social science, and science. The Academic Decathlon Resource Guides are written by individual writers under contract with USAD. The resource guides will assist students in their study of the topics listed in the subject area outlines. USAD offers basic guides in art, economics, literature, math and music. Whereas the resource guides focus on the specific topics listed each year. Basic guides offer a reference that can be used by teams year after year. The basic guides provide an enduring resource for fundamental subject matter, information and concepts that generally do not change from year to year.
The Pentathlon program is designed for seventh- and eighth-grade students. Tests are written to assist students in their mastery of the STAAR tests. Teams are ranked statewide, and competitors can win team and individual medals for their efforts on a regional level.
The Pentathlon competition is comprised of five events: math, social studies, science, literature, fine arts, and Super Quiz. The Super Quiz event is an oral relay before a large audience in which students work collaboratively on grade-level to answer ten multiple-choice questions. Each year a new overlying theme or topic is selected for study in conjunction with the essential readiness skills of the STAAR tests.
This program is designed to serve as a learning experience and feeder program for the Octathlon and Decathlon competitions. Study materials are purchased through the Decathlon state office. Novels are available new (and in most cases used) through major book dealers.
LONE STAR CHALLENGE
The Lone Star Challenge (LSC) program is designed to enhance elementary students in their mastery of the STAAR testing program. The Lone Star Challenge program allows fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students to test in their home school or district, eliminating the need for travel accommodations with this younger age group.
Teams are ranked statewide, and competitors can win team and individual medals for their efforts. Costs of this program are minimal, as this program is designed to serve as a learning experience and feeder program for the Pentathlon, Octathlon and Decathlon competitions. Study materials are purchased through the Decathlon state office.
Test items are based on STAAR reporting categories and enrichment content found in the two published guides. Both the LSC Study Guide and the LSC Workbooks are available from the Texas Academic Decathlon State Office.