The mission of the Academic Decathlon is to promote learning and academic excellence among students of varying achievement levels by developing and providing multidisciplinary academic competitions using Academic Decathlon® curricula and provide all students the opportunity to excel academically through team competition.
The United States Academic Decathlon’s curriculum is an interdisciplinary curriculum in which a selected theme is integrated across six different subject areas: art, economics, literature, music, science, and social science. Students also study mathematics and participate in essay-writing, speech, and interview events. While in most subjects the majority of the topics relate to the overall curricular theme, some topics that cover fundamentals may also be included to encourage a thorough understanding of the subject area as a whole. The USAD mathematics curriculum is unrelated to the theme and focuses on standard high school mathematics topics.
During the competition, students will participate in seven tests of knowledge of each of the Academic Decathlon subjects, as well as compete in written essay, speech, and interview. Culminating the event is the Super Quiz™ in which each of the teammates take turns solving multiple choice questions in front of a live audience.
The theme for the 2016–2017 U.S. Academic Decathlon® (USAD) curriculum is World War II.