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The Virginia Board of Education has approved tougher pass rates for the new Standards of Learning math assessments for grades three through eight.

The decision came yesterday after two hours of discussion, including objections from school superintendents, teachers and students from across Virginia.

Many of those objecting said this went too far, setting up many students for failure. But state board members were unanimous in supporting the tougher pass rates, saying this is no time to back off expectations.

The change affects the math SOL’s for grades three through eight and takes effect this year. The board already revised algebra and geometry tests.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)