Half of Tauranga's secondary schools topped the average national NCEA Level 1 pass rate last year.
Aquinas College, Bethlehem College, Mount Maunganui College, Tauranga Girls' College and Te Wharekura o Mauao all recorded higher than the national average pass rate of 83 per cent of students who participated in NCEA Level 1.
Aquinas College acting principal Terry Consedine said he was thrilled with the school's results.
"We are very proud of our students not just for their results but for the well-rounded approach that so many of them have. The students here make the most of so many opportunities."
Mr Consedine said the students were well supported by teachers who had high expectations and were prepared to go the extra mile when required.
He said the school was working hard to get more students achieving Excellence endorsements in their NCEA qualifications.
Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie said he was happy with the school's results.
"The pass rates are really good but what I was really pleased about is that the endorsement rates are going up."
Mr Crosbie said 68 per cent of the school's Level 1 students gained the qualification with Merit or Excellence endorsements last year.
"It's that depth that we want to try and aim at and track," he said.
Tauranga Boys' College principal Robert Mangan said he was happy with the school's results as the figures showed a steady improvement.
"The quality of the qualifications gained at Tauranga Boys' College is a better quality qualification because of how it's made up. We rely more on the externals than the unit standards," he said.
More weight should be put on the roll pass rate rather than the participation pass rate as it enabled some schools to hide students they did not think would perform well, he said.
Otumoetai College principal Dave Randell said his staff were focused on continually improving pass rates.
"We have all those kids from alternative education and our teen parenting unit. Of those, 63 per cent are Maori, which affects our results," he said.
A teachers-only day yesterday focused on how to raise Maori achievement rates, and class sizes had been lowered in an attempt to lift the results.
While the tail needed work, the school's top students were out-performing other schools with 35 per cent of students gaining an Excellence endorsement last year, he said.
"We're pleased with the results but we can always do better."