As expected, the number of students passing Standards of Learning math exams plummeted this year, according to results released by the state Tuesday.

State and local officials predicted the plunge as students took more difficult SOL math exams this spring that included technology-enhanced questions for the first time.

Statewide, students struggled most on seventh-grade math exams with only 58 percent passing. They did best on the Algebra I exam, which 75 percent of students passed. Both reflect a 19-point drop compared to last year.

Locally, every district saw a double-digit decrease in the average pass rate on math exams take in 2011-2012. The state tests students in grades 3-8 and algebra, algebra II and geometry.

Average pass rates in math ranged from 55 percent in Newport News and Hampton, to the highest rates at 78 percent in York County and Williamsburg-James City County. The latter two previously has pass rates in the 90s.

"While we have a long climb before we reach the achievement levels we hope to see on the new mathematics tests, the results released today represent a good start and provide a solid foundation for further progress in 2012-2013," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright in a news release.

The state's education department also released results from this year's SOL tests in English, science and history. Locally, school districts' average pass rates fluctuated only a few points in those subjects compared to last year.

Official accreditation results for individual schools as well as data on how subgroups did on tests at the state- district- and school-level won't be released until next month.

Schools will be rated under a new set of standards called Annual Measurable Objectives instead of the previous federal benchmarks called Adequate Yearly Progress.

Here's a look at how local districts did on this year's SOL exams in math, English, science and history.

Newport News

On average, 55.1 percent of students passed math tests this year in Newport News, a 25.5-point tumble from last year.

The lowest pass rate was in seventh-grade math at 33 percent. Students also struggled in eighth-grade math, with 44 percent passing. The best student performance was in sixth-grade math, with 68 percent passing. That's just a one-point drop from last year.

Pass rates remained nearly unchanged in all other subjects, at 82.8 percent in English, 77.3 percent in history and 86.3 percent in science.


In Hampton, students struggled most on the seventh-grade math exam, with 26 percent passing. That's 32 points below the state average and a 27-point drop from last year.

The next-lowest pass rate was 49 percent in eighth-grade math, a 28-point drop from last year. Students did best on the Algebra I exam, with 73 percent of students passing. On math tests overall, the average pass rate dropped from 78 percent to 55.5 percent.

Pass rates remains nearly identical in the other four subject areas, at 82.7 percent in English, 79.7 percent in history and 87.5 percent in science. Each changed 0.2 percent or less.

York County

York County students had little change in test performance this year, except for in math. The average pass rate in math was 78.2 percent, a 14.5-point drop from last year.