Lace to the Top, an activist group of educators and parents in New York opposed to high-stakes testing, became curious about the appearance of certain commercial products on the state’s mandated exams.

Edith Balthazar, a New York City public school parent and freelance editor, thought the product placements were too blatant to be an accident.

The exams were created by Pearson, the giant British publishing company.

Imagine! An American Girl doll with a Pearson textbook in her backpack!

Typically, publishers’ guidelines for test development prohibit any mention of commercial products.

Members of Lace to the Top did some research and found ties between Pearson and the products placed in its exams.

Were the references to these products mere coincidence or advertising?

If their research is wrong, I hope that representatives of Pearson will contact me so I can correct the record.