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.
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 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.
Average pass rates in other subjects hardly moved, at 93.6 percent in English, 94.7 percent in science and 91 percent in social studies.
In math, the lowest pass rate was 65 percent in eighth-grade math, and its highest was 91 percent in sixth-grade math. The steepest declines were from 84 to 65 percent in eighth-grade math and 96 percent to 76 percent each in Algebra I, Algebra II and third-grade math.
Poquoson City Public Schools students had average pass rates of 93.9 in English, 71.7 percent in math, 96.5 percent in science and 90.5 percent in social studies.
The math rate was a 17.9-point drop compared to last year. The lowest percent pass rate was 50 in fifth-grade math, and the highest was 90 in Algebra II.
Pass rates dropped from 85 to 51 percent in seventh-grade math, 84 to 50 percent in fifth-grade math and 94 to 73 percent in fourth-grade math.
Williamsburg-James City County
Williamsburg-James City County pass rates in math average 78 percent, a 20 percent drop compared to last year.
The lowest pass rate was 69 percent in seventh-grade math and the highest was 95 percent in both fifth-grade math and Algebra I. The only pass rate that increased was in sixth-grade math, which moved from 83 percent to 88 percent.
Average pass rates in other subject areas changed by 3 to 4 percentage points each at 93 percent in English, 87 percent in history and 94 percent in science.
In Gloucester, average pass rates remained steady in all subjects but math, which dropped to 67.8 percent compared to 84.3 percent last year.
The district's lowest pass rate in math was 55 percent in Algebra II, and the highest rate was 79 percent in sixth-grade math, which was the only rate that improved. It went up 19 points compared to last year. The biggest drop was in Algebra II, where the 55 percent pass rate was 32 points less than last year.
Average pass rates in other subjects were 90.1 percent in English, 83.7 percent in social studies and 94 percent in science.
The average math pass rate dropped 20 points in Mathews, from 79.8 percent last year to 59.5 percent this year.
The district's lowest pass rate was 41 percent in seventh-grade math, and its highest was 75 percent in fourth-grade math. The only subject with an improved pass rate was eighth-grade math, which went up 14 points to 61 percent.
Average pass rates in other subjects did not fluctuate much at 90.5 percent in English, 87.2 percent in social studies and 91.3 percent in science.
Isle of Wight
The average pass rate on math exams of 70.5 percent in Isle of Wight County was a 20 percent drop compared to last year.
The lowest pass rate was 49 percent in seventh-grade math and the highest was 79 percent in fourth-grade math.
Average pass rates in other subjects fluctuated only slightly at 94.6 percent in science, 91 percent in English, and 87.5 percent in history. Each was within one percentage point of last year's pass rates.
In Surry, 66.3 percent of students passed math exams, an 18-point drop compared to last year.
The two largest drops were in algebra II and third-grade math, which had pass rates of 53 and 51 percent respectively. The highest pass rates were in eighth-grade math and algebra, both with 79 percent.
Pass rates in other tested subject areas remain unchanged from 2011. Surry's average pass rates were 85.5 percent in English, 81 percent in history and 90.5 in science.
State pass rates
Algebra I: 75 percent
Geometry: 74 percent
Algebra II: 69 percent
Grade 8: 60 percent
Grade 7: 58 percent
Grade 6: 74 percent
Grade 5: 67 percent
Grade 4: 70 percent