The California Academic Decathlon is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes an educational experience providing a format in which teams of nine high school students compete in academic events. All California public and private high schools are eligible to compete. The Academic Decathlon embodies a partnership of business, foundations and individuals in cooperation with the education community and county offices of education.
There are an estimated 500 high schools, approximately 13,000 students, in 42 counties and districts participating in the California Academic Decathlon. The makeup of each of the nine member teams must include three A students, three B students, and three C or below students.
Academic Decathletes take 30 minute multiple choice tests in the subjects of Economics, Art, Music, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science. In addition, each team member gives a planned 4 minute Speech and a 2 minute impromptu Speech, sits through a 7 minute Interview, and has 50 minutes to write an Essay. The only event open to the public is the Super Quiz Oral Relay which deals with either the Science or Social Science topic.
The Academic Decathlon season involves 4 rounds of competition. The United States Academic Decathlon publishes the curriculum in May. Round 1 is a non-scoring scrimmage typically held in November. Round 2 consists of district and county competitions held on the first Saturday in February. The winners of Round 2 plus a limited number of invited teams then compete in Round 3 which is the CAD State Finals held sometime in mid-March. The State Champion then represents California in Round 4, the USAD Nationals held in late April.
Since national competition began in 1982, California has performed in a superior manner, winning 17 national titles and posting 11 second place finishes.