Performance in the three Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction (CASP) experiments has been compared in the areas of alignment accuracy for models based on homology and three-dimensional accuracy for models produced by using ab initio prediction methods. The homologous models span the comparative modeling and fold-recognition regimes. Each CASP target is assigned a relative difficulty based on the extent of sequence identity and the degree of structural overlap with the best available template. There is a clear improvement in alignment accuracy between CASP1 and CASPs 2 and 3 over much of the difficulty scale but no apparent improvement between CASP2 and CASP3. Encouragingly, the best ab initio models of small targets are clearly more accurate in CASP3 than in CASPs 1 and 2.