Trademarks enter New York’s Common Core Debate

Trademarked and branded product names appeared in 2014 state standardized tests. I am sure the test developers were trying to create relevant, interesting subject matter for elementary and middle school students. Skeptics believe there is product placement revenue driving the test questions. I hope that is not the case.

The issue is complicated by the confidentiality of the test questions and the legal prohibitions against educators discussing test questions. Students (not bound by confidentiality) who took the tests have provided some insight into the test questions, creating the current controversy. Some believe the branded product references confused students and others find it simply an unnecessary commercial opportunity.

So what branded products were referenced in New York’s common core state tests this month? Mug Root Beer®, Nike’s Just Do It® slogan, life Savers®, Barbie®, and iPod®.

I see an attempt to appeal to the interest of our youth. Do you see foul play? Do you oppose these test questions?