In the past, English as Second Language (ESL) teachers in Australia have been given a strong professional role in classroom assessment. This role still exists but has changed in ways that are causing some tensions for teachers in their day-to-day practice. In schools, educational reform has been accompanied by mother-tongue/English-learner-based standards and external literacy tests, against which ESL learners' progress is formally measured for accountability purposes. In the adult English-language teaching sector, reform has brought assessment requirements that regulate progress through courses and inform administrators of achievement of learning outcomes. This article reviews research into the changing role of classroom assessment in the context of recent reforms and identify outstanding issues and problems, with a particular focus on the tensions between policy and practice.