NOTE: This is part of a series of write-ups discussing my
findings of Texas high school academic University Interscholastic
Scholarship (UIL) competitions.
To keep this and the other write-ups concise and to focus reader
attention on the content, I have decided not to show the underlying code
(especially that which is used to create the visuals). Nonetheless, the
full code can be viewed on my GitHub
account. In the future, I may write some
some kind of addendum to demonstrate some of the programming
implementation that I think is notable in some way.
After I finished high school in 2012, I thought it would be interesting
to look back and evaluate my performance in the academic University
Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions
that I competed in with historical results. (To provide some background,
most public high schools in Texas are registered in the University
Interscholastic League (UIL), which “exists
to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music
contests”. For those familiar with the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA), the UIL serves an analogous
role for Texas high school extracurricular activities.)
Aside from my own self-interest in the historical results in these
competitions, I think that this analysis can provide some insight into
which schools (and individual students) are really the most “elite”.
School-wide and invidividual average scores on state- and national-
standardized tests (e.g. the SAT)
certainly are the most common measure of academic strength, but I think
rankings by academic competitions may be more indicative.
About the Data
To make some sense of the my analysis, the reader should be aware of the
following details about the data.
The competition data was scraped from https
for all years from 2008 through 2017. 1 The data is not listed in
an extremely user-friendly format (in my opinion). Consequently, the
“cleaned” data is imperfect in some ways.
The UIL categorizes schools into one of six “Conferences”. The
conference labels range from 1A, 2A, …, 6A, where the
increasing leading digit (i.e. 1, 2, etc.) generally corresponds to
increasing school size.
Schools only compete against other schools in their conference.
The UIL defines 3 levels of competition (in order of
“difficulty”): District__, Region, and State. These are
listed in order of “difficulty”. That is, Winning a District
competitions, results in a Region competition appearance, and,
subsequently, winning a Region competition results in a State
competition appearance. (Keep in mind that schools still only
compete against other schools in their same conference, even as they
The UIL defines 32 total Districts in Texas, which are
aggregated into 4 Regions. (The source of the geo-spatial data
The UIL defines 32 total Districts in Texas, which are aggregated into 4 Regions.
(The source of the geo-spatial data is
For schools, winning is a “winner-take-all” matter: only the school
with the most combined points among its top handful individual
competitors (3 for most competitions) advances. On the other hand,
an individual may advance even if his school does not win if he
places among the top “n”. The value of “n” is dependent on the
competition type. 2
There are 5 different academic competitions “types”:
Calculator Applications, Computer Science, Mathematics, Number
Sense, and Science. 3
In this series, I investigate the following topics:
Individual participation and performance (including myself).
School participation and performance (including my high school).
Miscellaneous topics, such as sibling performance