RICHMOND, Va. -

The Virginia Board of Education released last years SOL testing scores and school leaders in our area got what they feared: a big drop in reading and writing scores, especially for middle schoolers.

In our area, students followed state trends.

The big question: "Why did this happen ?"

Administrators say each school district is obviously different and faces different challenges, but there were two reasons we heard pretty consistently.

We're told the students were thrown off by the computer-based test and that the multiple choice sections were much more difficult.

Much like math scores a year ago, school leaders expected this, even in some areas, like Roanoke County, where pass rates dropped from the 90's into the 80's.

"There's an adaptation period involved where students are used to writing by hand and are used to typing into the computer.  For a high school student you might not think that's a big deal, but we also have a fifth grade writing test where it's new to our elementary students," said Roanoke County Testing Coordinator Ben Williams.

The state will hand down accreditation rulings later and this is obviously a concern for some school districts.

The department of education knew the test would be harder, so its not likely that school accreditation will be taken away.

There were some bright spots in the results.

The math scores bounced back nicely this year and school leaders expect the same to happen with these reading and writing scores.

Also, for those reading and writing scores, the drops in high schools were generally less severe than in the middle schools.

To see a web extra video demonstrating key issues administrators say may have contributed to the drop in SOL test scores in reading and writing for 2012-13, click here.

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FROM AP IN RICHMOND

Virginia education officials say student performance improved on the state's more rigorous mathematics tests.

But pass rates fell as expected on the newly revised English and science tests.

The state Department of Education on Tuesday released Standards of Learning results for the 2012-2013 school year.

Overall, 71 percent of students passed the math assessments in the 2012-2013 school year, compared with 68 percent the year before.

Math results for the previous school year were down notably because of the revised standards aimed at better preparing students for college or post-graduation employment.

Officials say 75 percent of students passed the reading tests and 76 percent passed the writing portion.

In science, 81 percent passed their grade-level or end-of-course tests, and 85 percent passed their history and social science tests.

Click here to see division-level test rates, click here to see state-level test-by-test pass rates, and click here to see school-level test-by-test SOL pass rates.

Here are the statewide results, by subject:

Statewide Mathematics SOL Pass Rates

Test

2011-2012

2012-2013

Change

Algebra I

75

76

+1

Geometry

74

76

+2

Algebra II

69

76

+7

Grade 8

60

61

+1

Grade 7

58

61

+3

Grade 6

74

77

+3

Grade 5

67

69

+2

Grade 4

70

74

+4

Grade 3

64

65

+1

Statewide Reading & Writing SOL Pass Rates

Test

2011-2012

2012-2013

High School Reading

94

89

High School Writing

93

87

Grade-8 Reading

89

71

Grade-8 Writing

88

70

Grade-7 Reading

88

74

Grade-6 Reading

89

73

Grade-5 Reading

89

73

Grade-5 Writing

87

71

Grade-4 Reading

88

70

Grade-3 Reading

86

72