Dynamic assessment's history stretches back to antiquity, but its formal beginnings are more recent. The dynamic assessment movement, inspired largely by the works of Binet, Vygotsky, and Feuerstein, has coalesced into a mightier movement, precipitating a testing renaissance in some circles. Forerunners of dynamic assessment often credit the works of Vygotsky, but similarly do not credit the socio-political times during which he worked. This article seeks to extract what is considered pertinent to Vygotsky's theoretical work: the times in which he lived, and how he successfully managed to negotiate for himself a path around the constraints of the day. In order to more fully appreciate the trajectory that dynamic assessment has subsequently followed during the last 70 years, it is deemed a worthwhile effort to return to the historical record of Soviet psychology, and investigate how dynamic assessment managed to become grounded in psychological science due largely to socio-historical influences. In order to fully comprehend the dynamic assessment movement, a similar comprehension of the movement's history is sought. How, and why Vygotsky theorised the way he did has as much to do with his own initial thoughts as it did with the reigning political ideology then current in the Soviet Union. © 2008 by The Psychological Society of Ireland.