Currently each Science Olympiad member school can enter up to fifteen (15) students as a team at each tournament. The school teams with the lowest (if first place is given 1 point) overall scores advance to the next level.
There has been mention since the inception of the Science Olympiad about "All-Star" teams whereby the gold medal winners from one level advance to the next level. After much discussion among the National Executive Board, national stake holders and coaches it has been unanimously decided to support the existing school team approach instead of an All-Star team approach for the following reasons:
- The team concept philosophically is more acceptable to most educators rather than emphasizing individual competition. The team concept emphasizes cooperation, teamwork, and the development of team spirit. The other over-emphasizes the individual and certain events.
- The Science Olympiad Constitution states that one of its purposes to improve the quality of science education. Having a balance between content, process and technology and all of the science disciplines promotes the development of a quality K-12 balanced science curriculum. If a school were allowed (encouraged) to bring only the best airplane thrower, egg dropper, or rock hound, it would encourage the fragmented and limited instruction of isolated skills to the neglect of the whole science curriculum. And, furthermore, it would be difficult to rally school and community support to fund the advancement of one paper airplane thrower versus the support for the overall state champion. Worse, it could damage one of the major purposes of Science Olympiad by detracting from the regional and state team's efforts.
- Finally, the management of an all-star team would be far more difficult and costly. The worst case situation could result in single students from 23 schools from each of the 50 states advancing to the national tournament in each division, presenting difficulty for tournament organizers and also for local school supporters attempting to make plans for all these students -- not to mention the increased cost of medals, material, and travel. Still, some feel the All-Star team has merit as it recognizes the best from each state and it provides an opportunity for more students and more schools to be represented and receive awards.