One flashpoint in the incendiary debate over standardized testing in American public schools is the area of test preparation. As noted by Smith, Smith, and DeLisi (2001), "we exist in an era in which student testing and the rigorous standards associated with testing seem to be the educational position of choice amongst politicians. Test scores have become the coin of the realm in education, and with that, concerns about how to get students to do well on tests has risen" (p. 87). Critics of standardized testing often voice at least two types of concern about test preparation:

1. Test preparation requires drilling students on a narrow set of low-level skills covered on the test, ignoring material that would have been covered had the teacher been unfettered by demands of preparing students for the assessment (e.g., Kohn, 2000; Madaus, 1998; Popham, 2003; Smith & Rottenberg, 1991).