Coaches & Curriculum Outline

Essential Information for Coaches

  • The U.S. Academic Decathlon® competition is comprised of ten events. There are seven multiple-choice exams—one in each of the following subject areas: art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science and social science. Students will also take an essay exam and will be judged in two speech events as well as an interview. The overall curricular theme for 2016-17 is World War II.
  • The culmination of the competition is the Super Quiz™ relay. The Super Quiz™ relay includes questions (in multiple-choice format) from the following six subject areas: art, economics, literature, music, science, and social science.
  • The multiple-choice exams in art, economics, literature, music, science, and social science each have 50 questions. The mathematics exam has 35 questions. • Students will be given 30 minutes to complete each of the written multiple-choice exams. Students will have 50 minutes to complete the essay exam.
  • The U.S. Academic Decathlon® permits students to use calculators, including graphing calculators, for the mathematics exam only, provided they have none of the features listed in Section III of the U.S. Academic Decathlon® Calculator Policy. Coaches can view the U.S. Academic Decathlon’s calculator policy on the U.S. Academic Decathlon® website or contact U.S. Academic Decathlon® to receive a copy of the calculator policy.
  • The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature and selected shorter works. Test items will be derived from the selected works of literature and from the information provided in the Literature Resource Guide. The literature test will include a critical reading passage with accompanying test items. The literature test will also expect students to be able to analyze the selected works of literature as well as the critical reading passage and will expect students to be familiar with literary terms and devices. The long work of literature will be the novel Transit by Anna Seghers.
  • While the Art Resource Guide includes information relevant to the 18 selected artworks, this guide contains text only and does NOT include images of the artworks. The art curriculum will include a section on art fundamentals and will largely focus on the art of the World War II era.  The Art Reproductions Booklet contains reproductions of the 18 artworks that are included in this year’s art outline. However, please be aware that no text beyond the title, artist, date, etc., accompanies these artworks.
  • The music curriculum will include basic elements of music theory and will focus on the music of the World War II era.
  • The social science curriculum will cover World War II.
  • The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and will also include a thematic section of the economic origins and impact of World War II.
  • The science topics will be an introduction to atomic and nuclear physics including a section on the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb.
  • The 2016-17 mathematics curriculum and materials will cover algebra and trigonometry and will be the same as were used for the 2013-14 U.S. Academic Decathlon.
  • Test writers have been instructed to construct tests such that at least 10–20% of the questions on each test require the use of higher-order thinking skills.
  • The U.S. Academic Decathlon® competition tests will be written in accordance with the topics and percentages noted in the subject area outlines that are published in the U.S. Academic Decathlon® Study Guide.
  • The U.S. Academic Decathlon® offers Resource Guides, Student Exercise Books, and ReadySet Guides in art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science, and social science. The Resource Guides, Student Exercise Books, and Ready Set Guides will assist students in their study of the topics listed in the subject area outlines. All U.S. Academic Decathlon® competition test items will be derived from the information and concepts presented in the Resource Guides, as well as the selected literature, artworks, and musical works.
  • The full subject area outlines are posted on the U.S. Academic Decathlon website, www.usad.org and are also published in the U.S. Academic Decathlon Study Guide.