SAT scores rose last year for five of eight local high schools with the percentage of area scores over 1500 -- a state benchmark -- climbing by more than 10%.
Amador Valley High School scores of 1500 or higher went from 76.60% to 79.38%. Foothill High stayed on top of the list, although scores dropped by .05%, from 80.61% to 80.56%.
Scores are generally trending up for students at Tri-Valley high schools taking the SATs, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, according to state figures.
In 2010, the last year for which numbers are available, five of eight local high schools showed improvement over 2009. All were at least 10 points higher than the statewide average, according to Matt Taylor, who is with the state education department's evaluation, research and analysis unit.
Taylor said California uses 1500 as its benchmark because in the past the median score on each of the three parts of the exam has been approximately 500, for a total score of 1500.
"Each year that median changes based on the population of test takers, but we continue to report the score of 1500 because it makes for a nice benchmark," Taylor explained. He said the state average of scores 1500 or higher is 50.7%.
In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, San Ramon Valley High School in Danville climbed by more than 10%, from 76.47% to 86.98%, and California High School in San Ramon jumped about 3%, from 71.69% to 74.70%.
Other schools with slight improvements were Granada High in Livermore, up about 1% from 69.12% to 70.25%, and Dublin High, with an increase of .26% from 61.64% of students with a score of 1500 or greater to 61.90%.
Monte Vista High School in Danville also dropped, also by less than 1%, from 86.16 to 85.54. Livermore High School showed the steepest loss, dropping almost 4% from 69.01% in 2009 to 65.13 last year.
Nearly 79% of students at Dougherty Valley High in San Ramon scored above 1500 in 2010, the first year seniors took the SATs.
Although most districts offer home schooling on a formal or informal basis, only one, Venture Alternative School, in the San Ramon Valley district, had students that passed the state benchmark score, with 71.43% of seniors at Venture scoring 1500 or greater.
None of the continuation high schools had a significant number of seniors who scored 1500 or higher.
The 2010 scores were released by the state earlier this month.