In recent years educational authorities in many countries have introduced outcomes-based assessment and reporting systems in the form of national standards, frameworks and benchmarks of various kinds which are used both for purposes of system accountability and for assessing individual progress and achievement in language learning. However, in some cases the introduction of these systems has proved problematic, owing to a number of political, technical and practical factors. These include the difficulty of combining formative assessment with summative reporting, the differing information requirements of different audiences, concerns about the validity and reliability of outcome statements and the lack of appropriate resources to support implementation. Such problems may be able to be alleviated by closer consultation between policy-makers, administrators and practitioners, by undertaking further research into the validity and consistency of outcome statements and by strengthening the links between assessment and reporting. A major investment in teacher professional development is necessary if teachers are to be responsible for carrying out their own assessments. Ongoing research needs to be conducted into the effects of outcomes-based assessment and reporting on student learning.