Systemwide, increases were seen with first-time test takers in the 11th grade in English/language arts and science. A total of 90 percent of 11th-graders passed the English/language arts test -- a 3-point increase from 2009 -- and 87 percent did so with the science test, a 7-point jump from the previous year.
The percentage of those passing in writing and math stayed unchanged, both at 91 percent.
"Right now, we're pleased with the initial results and being able to either show improvement or retain the gains we had previously made, and are looking forward to the students who we also anticipate will be successful on next year's retakes," said school system spokesman Louis Svehla.
The only test that showed a drop was social studies, which decreased from 79 percent passing in 2009 to 69 percent this year. Svehla said that was to be expected as the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards went into effect for the first time in that subject this year.
The social studies drop in Richmond County was similar to the decrease in the state average, which fell from 90 percent to 81 percent.
In 1991, Georgia started requiring students to pass the graduation tests, which can be taken for the first time in a student's junior year and as a retest in the senior year. In 2008, the tests were aligned with the new state standards.
Some of the five tests are administered in the fall, and some are given in the spring.
Svehla said the results released Friday do not include senior tests, which will be reflected later this year in Adequate Yearly Progress reports.
As for individual schools, a summary of Richmond County's results noted that Davidson Fine Arts and A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet continued a trend of having 100 percent of their first-time test takers pass writing, English/language arts, math and science.