Welcome

The Polk County High School Academic Tournament is a highly academic competition for high school students. Each team consists of six members (four players and two alternates) and a coach. This is not a quick-response, trivial pursuit contest. Instead, it is a slower-paced tournament in which players are asked questions from the areas of mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, the fine arts, world languages and technology. The questions are written by educators from Florida high schools to mirror existing curricula.

2020 Tournament Schedule

The 2020 tournament schedule will be coming soon! The schedule will be posted once it has been finalized.

Tournament Rules

High School Academic Competition Rules

1. One team per district may participate in the state tournament. A team consists of six team members and a coach. Students enrolled in the district in grades 9-12 during the current academic year are eligible. Teams may compete with fewer than four members, but not more than six.

2. A tournament competition consists of three rounds and a tie-breaker round when needed. Team scores at the end of the competition determine final team placement. A tournament competition is complete once final scores are announced, and results are not subject to dispute or to change.

Five-point round:
• twenty competitive-response questions
• team question valued at a maximum of 10 points
• two-minute break (coaches consult teams and substitutions allowed)

Ten-point round:
• cumulative scores announced
• twenty competitive-response questions
• team question valued at a maximum of 20 points
• two-minute break (coaches consult teams and substitutions allowed)

Fifteen-point round:• cumulative scores announced
• twenty-five competitive-response questions
• team question valued at a maximum of 30 points
• scores announced

Tie-breaker round:
• two-minute break (coaches consult teams and substitutions allowed)
• If two or more qualifying teams have scores that are tied at the end of the fifteen-point round, only
those teams will be asked competitive-response question(s) until all ties for final placement are
broken. If a team gives the correct answer, one point is added to its score. If the given answer is
incorrect, one point is subtracted from the score.

3. A competition opens with four playing students, and substitutions may take place only during authorized breaks. It is the responsibility of each team coach to report during the authorized breaks to the scorekeepers with the names of the team members who will be playing in the next round. All team members must remain seated except during the authorized breaks. Team members may not converse outside their table during challenges or unscheduled breaks during a competition.

4. Random selection is used to place teams into elimination competitions. Teams are assigned a number for each round of competition.

5. Each team has one button that activates a first-response lockout system. For competitive-response questions only the team recognized as having pushed its button first has the opportunity to answer the question. If the question is answered incorrectly, the question is not given to another team. The correct answer is given, and the reader proceeds to the next question.

6. Any playing member may push the button, and any playing team member may answer. If two or more team members respond and one is correct and the others are incorrect, the response will be considered incorrect. Once a team gives a response, the response cannot be changed.

7. Team members may confer before and/or after the button is pushed; however, stalling is not permitted.

(a) Three-second rule: The team response must begin within three seconds of verbal recognition. This threesecond interval is controlled through a timer built into the game system.

(b) Once begun, the response must proceed without prolonged hesitation. The interpretation of this rule lies
with the reader.

Violation of either of these rules is considered an incorrect response.

8. A team may request that a question be repeated only if a team button has not been pushed or if the one-minute timer has not sounded.

9. If a team pushes its button before the question is completely read, the question reader will not finish reading the question and will expect the team to begin responding within three seconds.

10. Pass option: This option is implemented when, in the judgment of the question reader, a particular question will go unanswered. At the discretion of the question reader, the teams may be asked for that particular question, “Does any team wish to pass?” If all teams elect to pass the timer will be disengaged, the correct answer given, and play will continue.

11. Each team begins a competition with 100 points. A team is eliminated from the current competition when its score reaches zero, but must remain seated quietly until the end of the current point round.

12. The tournament uses two types of questions: competitive-response and team questions.

(a) Competitive-response questions are answered by competing teams using the button. When a team answers a competitive-response question correctly, it receives the number of points the question is worth. If the answer is incorrect, the points are subtracted from the score, and the round continues to the nextquestion. If a competitive response question is not answered within sixty seconds, the answer is given and the round continues.

(1) On a free-response question the reader may ask for clarification of the answer or for additional information. Generally in questions requiring computation, the unit is specified and is, therefore, not required as part of the answer. If the unit is not specified in the question, it must be given as part of the response. If the unit is omitted from the response, the reader will ask the respondent for additional information.

If more information is given in the answer than is needed, that information must be correct. However, “shotgunning” is not permitted and will be considered stalling.

(2) On a matching question, an acceptable response is any correct combination of letter/ number matching column to column. For example: A-4, B-1, C-2, D-3. Answers that are not exactly as printed are referred to the subject area judge for decision. No clarification from the respondent will be requested or permitted. In some questions one numbered choice will not be used. This will be stipulated in the question stem.

(3) On a multiple-choice question, the best response is the correct number or the exact answer. Answers that are not exactly as printed are referred to the subject area judge for decision. No clarification from the respondent will be requested or permitted.

“Which one or ones…” is a common introduction for multiple-choice questions which may have more than one correct response. For this type of question all correct answers must be given or the response is incorrect.

By not waiting for the choices to be read, the player takes a chance that the judges will not accept his answer.

For multiple-choice and matching questions, the recommended answer is the number or numbers of the correct response(s). By giving the number for the answer, there is no indecision as to the correctness of the given response(s).

(b) Team questions are answered by teams within a specific time limit without the use of the button. Time limits are determined by the complexity of the question. Team questions are responded to on paper. When time runs out, the team’s designated answer sheet is collected and graded by the subject area judges. Teams must stop writing when time is called. Points are not subtracted for incorrect responses.

(c) For those competitive-response or team questions requiring written answers in a foreign language, spelling and accents must be correct only if indicated in the question instructions.

13. Coaches, alternates, and observers are seated assigned areas by CAC staff members. Coaches are allowed to consult their teams only during the authorized two-minute breaks. Coaching during actual competition is not permitted.

14. A team may challenge the ruling of the correctness of its response or the ruling of the correctness of another team’s response. Only the team that answered the question can gain or lose points.

(a) Any challenge must be made by any of the four playing team members before the first word of the next
question is read. Neither coaches nor alternates nor observers may challenge. If the last competitiveresponse question in a round is challenged, the challenge must be made before the title of the team question is announced. The team member challenging a question or a response should announce
“challenge.” Once recognized, only that team may give input in the challenge.

(b) Any challenge of a team question must be made before the announcement of the two-minute break.

(c) The challenge process concludes at the discretion of the reader, coordinating judge, and/or the tournament
director.

15. The tournament director and judges have final authority during competition play. They make decisions in the following situations:

(a) A challenge is made.

(b) A team gives a questionable response.

(c) The wrong team responds. The team that has hit its button first is recognized by team number and name. Teams are cautioned not to
respond unless their team number and name have been called. In the event a team who has not been
recognized gives a response, the reader asks for a response from the recognized team.

(d) The wrong team is recognized. If a team is recognized incorrectly and the reader rules on the correctness of the response, then the question
is discarded and is replaced. The replacement question may not be from the same subject area.

(e) The question is read incorrectly. If the question reader makes an error that causes a team to lose points, the question is discarded and no
loss of points will be recorded. The question is replaced. The replacement question may not be from the
same subject area.

(f) The coaches, alternates, or observers give signals.

(g) The players at the table give signals to coaches, alternates, or observers.

(h) The audience interferes.

(i) Poor sportsmanship is shown.

(j) The coaches, players, alternates, or observers fail to follow specific instructions.

16. Possible penalties include the loss of points, disqualification and/or removal of player, coach, alternate, observer and/or team.

17. All team members and coaches must comply with the established dress code for competition or face disqualification. The dress code is printed and distributed to all coaches and will be limited to slacks, polo shirts, dress shirts, dresses, pantsuits, skirts and blouses. The tournament director, the director’s designee and/or
coordinating judges will determine if clothing is appropriate.

18. If a team button malfunctions, the question reader must be notified immediately.

19. Pencils, paper, at least one scientific calculator (TI-34) and one graphing calculator (TI-84 Plus) per team are provided. Teams are not permitted to bring any materials to the tables during tournament play.

20. Team members or coaches not present at the beginning of the five-point round will be disqualified from all rounds of that competition. A team may compete with fewer than four members.

21. Only the designated coach from each team may come to the judges’ table. Those coaches must stay in front of the judges’ table or tables and may not go behind the table(s). No team member, alternate or observer may come to the judges’ table(s) before, during or after the competition. Team members and coaches in ongoing
competitions must have an escort to leave the room. The designated coach from each team should ask the coordinating judge for that escort. Team members, coaches, and/or accompanying team observers may not enter or reenter a room with on-going competition if not accompanied by a CAC staff member. Teams who have completed their competitions are excluded from entering rooms with ongoing competition.

22. Electronic devices are to be in the off position during a tournament competition. All forms of recording and messaging, as well as all other forms of electronic communication are prohibited during a tournament competition without the express permission of the tournament director.

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Fact Sheet

WHO?

One team of six high school students and one coach is selected to represent each high school in the district at this tournament. The inaugural year for the PCHSAT was 1984.

WHAT?

The tournament is a highly academic competition for high school students. Each team consists of six members (four players and two alternates) and a coach. This is not a quick-response, trivial pursuit contest. Instead, it is a slower-paced tournament in which players are asked questions from the areas of mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, world languages (French and Spanish), technology, the fine arts and the humanities. The questions are written by Florida educators to mirror existing curricula.

WHERE?

Five practice rounds are held during September through January at various high school sites prior to the county championship tournament.

WHEN?

The Semi-final Round of the Polk County High School Academic Tournament will be Tuesday, January 29th at four sites around the district.

The Championship Round is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12th at the Bartow Civic Center. All competitions begin at 3:30 and the public is invited. There is no charge for admission.

WHY?

The tournament goal is to provide a prestigious academic competition in which the district’s academically talented high school students are recognized. The team members and coaches of the first-, second-, and third-place teams receive plaques; the six finalist schools are awarded trophies; and the Polk County champion receives the Clara Hirschfield Trophy for Academic Excellence. The Polk Education Foundation will award a $500 scholarship to each of the six winning team members.