BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — It will cost the state of Montana about $2 million, or $27 per student, to administer and score the new battery of K-12 Common Core-aligned tests.

The Office of Public Instruction recently finalized contracts for the Smarter Balanced computer-based exams.

The tests gauge students' mastery of the new standards and will be given for the first time next spring.

The old paper-and-pencil Criterion-Referenced Test for English/language arts, math and science had a price tag of $2.9 million.

Students will continue to take the CRT science exam, pushing the total testing cost this year to $3.2 million.

Madalyn Quinlan, of the Office of Public Instruction, tells The Billings Gazette that a federal grant will continue to cover state assessment costs in full.

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