The developing discourse which moves assessment away from a measurement model towards one of learner empowerment and the development of assessment for lifelong learning sets the context for this paper. Within this framework, we explore how the demands made on practitioners may influence current reported assessment practices. The reasons given by practitioners for implementing innovations in assessment illuminate the ways in which academics are attempting to meet these demands. Using data from a recent UK Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded literature review, we examined six different types of innovation in assessment. These were presentations and other non- written assessments; portfolios and other non conventional writing assignments; assessment of groups and collaboration; involving students in assessment; use of new technology in assessment and the how and when of guidance and feedback. Our aim was to identify the drivers to each. Evidence from this project (INNOVAS) (Hounsell et al., 2007), suggests that drivers to innovation can be broadly classified as two basic types: those which are related to the student experience (termed ‘internal’) and those which are clearly ‘external’. This paper explores the interface between these drivers and current higher education assessment practice as reported in recent literature.