This review provides a framework for examining the assessment of literacy underpinned by current theories of reading and writing. Our choice of assessment tools was influenced by a desire to identify tests that are suitable for diagnosing students of all ages. The key dimensions identified were printed word recognition (lexical and nonlexical), comprehension and writing. We conclude that there is no single test currently available that provides a comprehensive profile of literacy difficulties. The assessor will require critical discrimination in choosing tests that are theoretically sound and diagnostically useful.