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What are the Academic Decathlon and Pentathlon?

The Academic Decathlon is a national scholastic competition designed to stimulate intellectual growth, develop critical thinkers and create lifelong learners. Here in Alaska, both the Decathlon (high school) and the Pentathlon (middle school) programs:

  • Create our state’s future leaders
  • Reward academic achievement
  • Challenge students to do their best as individuals and as a members of a team comprised of students of all GPA levels
  • Award $49,000 in scholarships annually to more than 30 students

​​The Alaska Academic Decathlon (high school) and Pentathlon (middle school) programs are among the premier scholastic competitions on both the state and national level. Aligned with National Standards and Alaska’s Educational Challenge, the curriculum for both programs transfer across core content areas to increase student performance in Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and the Arts (other subjects for high school students include Economics, Essay, Speech and Interview).

Each team is comprised of students with varying abilities and GPAs (Honors: 3.8+, Scholastic: 3.2-3.8, Varsity: 0-3.2). Students compete individually against students in their same category and as a team. Each year the curriculum is based on a different theme.

Each program holds a State Competition where students can earn medals, trophies and scholarships. The winning teams represent Alaska at the U.S. Academic Decathlon and Pentathlon National Competitions. Decathletes and Pentathletes with the highest overall scores are eligible to earn thousands of dollars in scholarships, including scholarships specific to the University of Alaska.

2023-24 Theme: Technology & Humanity

Each year, the Academic Decathlon selects a new theme for teams all over the country to explore. The theme shapes an entire course of studies and brings it all together. Since the curriculum team develops these themes with special attention to national content standards, students learn relevant material aligned with national and state criteria.

Subject areas include science, literature, art, music, social science, economics and mathematics along with writing essays, preparing and delivering speeches and taking part in professional interviews.

Alaska Academic Decathlon is a program of

SERRC - Alaska's Educational Resource Center