Four schools -- Amador Valley, Foothill, Dougherty Valley and San Ramon Valley -- took gold awards from the magazine. Five others -- California, Monte Vista, Dublin, Granada and Livermore -- were awarded silver honors.
Amador was No. 54 in the state and 331 in the nation, while Foothill was 70th in the state and was ranked No. 370 in the nation. San Ramon Valley was rated 80th in the state and 416 nationally. The magazine ranked Dougherty Valley 59 among California high schools and 328 nationally.
California High was ranked 185 in the state and 907 in the nation, while Dublin High was rated to be 333 statewide and 1,452 nationally; Granada High placed 270 in the state and 1,196 in the nation, Livermore High was rated 331 in California and 1,421 in the country, and Monte Vista was ranked 131 in the state and 680 in the country.
The study looked at 21,035 high schools across 49 states (Nebraska did not provide enough data to be included), and ranked all 2,039 high schools in California.
U.S. News used American Institutes for Research to do its study. AIR did more than just rank those who are college bound, but used a number of performance indicators on the principle that a great high school "must serve all of its students well," and "that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes" to show the school is educating students. The same methodology was used in the 2013 rankings, which were not available for comparison.
The ratings were based on a three-step process, looking at overall performance by using test scores and factoring in the number of poorer students "to identify the schools that were performing better than statistical expectations."
For the schools that made it past that step, AIR compared each school's math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged -- black, Hispanic and low income -- students with the statewide results to see how they ranked compared to other schools in the state.
Finally, if a school made it over those hurdles, it was judged on whether its students were college ready. The study used AP scores to determine that.
Rankings, from top to bottom for high schools in the Tri-Valley