The implementation of outcomes-based assessment and reporting systems in educational programs has been accompanied by a range of political and technical problems, including tensions between the summative and formative purposes of assessment and doubts surrounding the validity and reliability of teacher-constructed assessment tasks. This article examines ways in which these problems have been manifested and addressed, using two recent examples from school and adult immigrant education in Australia. The first example concerns a recent controversy surrounding the use of national literacy benchmarks for primary school learners. Analysis of the issues suggests that some learner groups may be disadvantaged by the practice of reporting aggregate outcomes in terms of minimum standards, but that government policy is unlikely to change as long as the accountability function of assessment remains paramount in the public eye. The second example discusses the teacher-developed assessment tasks that are used to assess the achievement of language competencies in the Australian Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). It is argued that problems of consistency and comparability that have been identified by research can be addressed through the development of fully-piloted task banks and the provision of appropriate forms of professional development. Greater attention needs to be given to the role of the teacher if outcomes-based assessments are to provide high quality information.