Several education officials in Mississippi say the $29.50 per student charge for the new Common Core State Standards math and language arts assessments are cheaper than current exams and offer a fuller picture of student achievement. Changes that some education officials say they welcome include the online testing format that requires students to use critical-thinking skills. "The students will be able to interact with graphs, manipulate shapes, click on an excerpt of an essay and then a video with the task of typing an essay explaining the similarities/differences of the content they read or watched," said Richard Bailko, with the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Student Assessment.

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