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Prof. Dr. Atmazaki DMS, M. Pd.

Faculty of Languages and Arts, State University of Padang


Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mendeskripsikan proses dan hasil pengembangan perangkat penilaian kinerja untuk menilai keterampilan berbahasa Indonesia di sekolah menengah pertama di Sumatera Barat, Indonesia. Penelitian ini dilakukan dalam konteks perkuliahan Penilaian pada Program Pascasarjana Universitas Negeri Padang tahun 2014. Metode R/D (Borg & Gall, 1983) dan Four-D model (Thiagarajan, dkk, 1974) digunakan untuk mengembangkan alat penilaian kinerja untuk mengukur keterampilan berbahasa siswa. Pertama, dirancang sejumlah tugas kinerja dan rubrik penyekoran, lalu divalidasi oleh beberapa ahli. Kedua, tugas dan rubrik digunakan di beberapa sekolah dalam pembelajaran menulis dan berbicara. Ketiga, diminta komentar dari siswa dan guru tentang praktikalitas melalui angket. Hasil belajar dijadikan sebagai indikator untuk menentukan efektivitas alat yang dikembangkan ini. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa alat penilaian kinerja yang dilengkapi dengan rubrik penyekoran dapat membantu siswa meningkatkan keterampilan berbahasa karena mereka mudah memahami tuntutan tugas dan tahu bagaimana mereka akan dinilai. Selain itu, guru juga menyatakan bahwa alat penilaian seperti ini memudahkan mereka menyekor tugas-tugas siswa karena dilengkapi dengan rubrik. Kesimpulan adalah bahwa alat penilaian kinerja yang dirancang dan dikembangkan dengan baik akan memudahkan siswa dalam menyelesaikan tugas-tugas kinerja dan memmudahkan guru dalam menyekornya. Berdasarkan hasil penelitian itu direkomendasikan agar guru, baik sendiri maupun melalui organanisasi profesi dan bekerjasama dengan universitas untuk mengembangkan alat penilaian kinerja untuk pembelajaran dan penilaian keterampilan berbahasa Indonesia di sekolah.



This study aims to describe the process and the results of the development of performance assessment tools to assess the Indonesian language skills in secondary schools in West Sumatra, Indonesia. This research was conducted in the context of Assessment Lectures at the Graduate Program in State University of Padang in 2014. This research uses R/D Methods (Borg & Gall, 1983) and the Four-D model (Thiagarajan, et al, 1974) to develop an assessment tool to measure the performance of students' language skills, carried out through three steps. First, designing a number of task performances and the scoring rubric, then validated by several experts. Second, using the tasks and rubrics used in some schools in teaching writing and speaking. Third, requesting comments from students and teachers about the practicalities through questionnaires. Learning outcome serves as an indicator to determine the effectiveness of this tool. The results showed that the performance assessment tool that is equipped with a scoring rubric can help students improve their language skills because they are easy to understand the demands of the task and know how they will be assessed. In addition, teachers also stated that an assessment tool like this allows them to scoring the students tasks because it comes with a rubric. The conclusion is that the performance assessment tool designed and developed properly will help students to complete their performance tasks and allow the teachers to scoring. Based on the research results, it is recommended that teachers, either individually or through professional organizations and collaboration with universities, develop a performance assessment tool for learning and assessment language skills in school.

Key words: teaching language, performance assessment, scoring rubric



After several tryout phases, Ministry of Education and Culture has decided to implement National Curriculum 2013 (KN13) simultaneously. It means that all learning devices should be prepared, including syllabi, unit lessons, teaching materials, and assessment system. Syllabi and assessment system have been developed by curriculum development team, while unit lessons and teaching materials should be produced by the teachers themselves.

KN13 requires authentic assessment, that is the assessment that demands the students to do the school tasks as they do in real life. But, what is an authentic assessment? What kind of assessment instrument must be developed? How can the authentic assessment be developed to be compatible with Indonesian language need?

In principle, Indonesian language subject is skill-based where the students are able to “do” language tasks based on basic competence referred to in the curriculum. What is meant by doing in Indonesian language subject? These kind of questions will be discussed in this paper.

In this paper, I use the term alternative assessment (Ott, 1994), instead of authentic assessment and as a comparison to the traditional assessment term (Muller, 2012). This term is used in consideration that teachers have many alternatives in choosing authentic assessment form. This term is more general than others and rather meets the purpose of writing this paper, that is to develop a number of assessments other than traditional assessment. Alternative assessment is a number of assessment forms in learning that demands the students to show their knowledge, skill, and competence realistically, which are  skills and competence one normally has in daily life. Besides, the term “alternative” refers to several choices, so there are many forms of alternative assessment.

In this paper, the discussion will cover the concept of alternative assessment, the principles of alternative assessment, the types of alternative assessment, development of tasks of alternative assessment, and development of rubric for alternative assessment. In this paper, tasks and rubrics are the assessment instrument.




Alternative assessment is a generic term to label a number of assessments other than traditional assessment (Hamayan, 1995). This term includes direct assessment, performance assessment, authentic assessment, informal assessment, and descriptive assessment. Through alternative assessment, the students are required to show tasks (studying) that realistically demonstrate meaningful applications of essential knowledge and skills (Muller, 2012) and reflect study achievements, motivation, and students’ behaviour in learning activities (Pierce, 1996). Wiggins (1990) stresses the directness, performance, and proper aspects in alternative assessment. Alternative assessment pushes the students to directly show knowledge and skills in real activities, not artificials, and not only test certain aspects of said knowledge and skills. Other than that, alternative assessment also asks the students to perform, be present, do, or demonstrate. The students should perform properly, that is doing meaningful tasks in terms of its integrity, not as separate parts of knowledge and skills. In doing writing tasks, for example, the students not only write a sentence or a paragraph, but also write a complete story such as article, review, poem, etc. Tasks for speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, leading a discussion, and conducting a small research can be considered as authentic activities if the results are useful for the readers or listeners. If the result is in the form of scores for knowledge about linguistic elements, it is called simple task and inauthentic. Take a look at the comparison below.

Traditional Assessment                                                                 Alternative Assessment

Choosing the answer

  Showing the tasks



Doing in real life




Compiled by teachers  

Compiled by students

Indirect proofs  

Direct proofs

(Muller, 2012)


Alternative assessment in language learning was developed circa 1990s. According to Brown (2004:10), language learning starts to lean to student-centered agenda in 2000s. While the pencil-and-paper assessment is still widely used, but for the speaking and writing skills, as well as open-ended responses, the teachers start to use performance-based assessment. Brown (2004:251) calls alternative assessment as beyond tests, that is an assessment intended not only to test, but also to ask students to do and have a certain attitude toward their knowledge and skills. In its initial development, alternative assessment only serves as a supplement to traditional assessment. But nowadays, the form of alternative assessment has been developing rapidly to assess communication (language) skills.

Despite using different terms, in principle, the alternative assessment in language learning has the same characteristics. Hamayan (1995) proposes five characteristics of alternative assessment for language learning. First, alternative learning requires authentic assessment material so that the students directly use language as they do in daily life (authentic situation). Second, with alternative assessment, the teachers progressively pay attention to the relationship between linguistic elements, which are phonology, grammar, and vocabulary. Other than those, the four linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) form an integral, interrelated part in language learning. Third, with alternative assessment, learning seems to be more integral with assessment. The integrity between skills and abilities in learning will seem to be more visible by using alternative assessment. Fourth, with alternative assessment, the teachers may know the linguistic development of their students more accurately in daily life. Fifth, with alternative assessment, the teachers can do assessment using multiple referencing. See also the twelve characteristics of authentic assessment presented by Brown (2004:252).

If bound to choose a driver from two choices available with criteria of: (1) the driver candidate that passes the written test (knowledge of road signs), but fails at the actual driving test; (2) candidate that fails at the written test, but passes the driving test, will you choose the first or the second candidate? If it was me, I will find the third candidate that passes both written and driving test.


At least, there are five general principles that underlies the alternative assessment. First, the assessment must be an inseparable part of the learning process. Second, the assessment must reflect adult behaviour in real life. Third, the assessment must use various measures, methods, and criteria compatible with the characteristics of learning experience. Fourth, the assessment must be thorough, meaning that it covers all three spheres of learning objectives, which are cognitive (knowledge), affective (behaviour), psychomotor (skills). Fifth, as a result of the four principles above, the assessment must be direct.


As the term suggests, alternative assessment is a number of assessment techniques that can be used by teachers to collect information about students’ competence for learning improvement. The teachers can choose one or more of these assessment forms according to the needs of the class. At least, there are nine types of alternative assessment.

Performance-based assessment demands that students to show an action based on their knowledge (Brown, 2004:126), that may consist of doing research and writing reports, analysing story characters, creating essential information based on readings, dramatizing stories, etc (Muller, 2012). Accordingly, the students make constructive response, involved in high-level thinking; their tasks are meaningful and authentic; having integrated several language skills; and both process and products can be accessed; and deeper students’ mastery on subject’s material.

Observation assessment is conducted to recognize students’ linguistic development by observing information objects and record them with certain instruments. These instruments may be in the form of checklist or complete rubric, or audio and video. Every response and questions of the students becomes the teachers’ attention, noted on observation sheets to be used as the basis to give comments, improvements and assessments (Brown, 2004: 141).

Project assessment requires students to apply their knowledge and skills while doing certain tasks. This method is often used for creativity, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis aspects (Ott, 1994). Project assessment can also be conducted in the form of short research started, for instance, from stimulus given by the teachers by paying attention to images, cartoons, or problems debated in newspapers. In language learning, projects given to the students are: (a) writing literary criticism; (b) conducting small research. The criteria to evaluate those projects are developed and the result of the projects is noted and reported or presented.

Investigation assessment asks students to investigate cases in language learning.  Investigation does not require students to venture out of schools. They can investigate cases in language learning from their desks. The teachers can ask the students to ask the students to compare two types of texts and investigate their characteristic uniqueness. By knowing the most essential matters of a text, the students can learn how to create such text.

Assessment through diary is conducted by recognizing changes (attitude, behaviour, tendency in performance, participation level, and language advance) that occur according to the notes written by the students during a certain period. The diary entry can be a portfolio material.

Journal assessment is conducted by identifying writings that record feeling, thought, perception, or reflection concerning actual events or students’ works from time to time. In the journal, personal meaning related to the students’ participation in an activity (language) is documented. When attending a sermon in a worship house, the students write the contents of the sermon and their reflective thoughts on it. When watching sport matches, the students write their reflection on the game and the future of the teams.

Therefore, hopefully the journal contains reflection on events or activities attended; the teachers should be careful in giving assessments. Mistakes in assessment will result in students writing only good things that please the teachers. When a student writes about social activities at school, he or she can write only the positive aspects for fear of being considered inappropriate by the teachers should he or she writes about negative aspects of such activities, even though the negative aspects are true and honest.

The most important aspect in a journal is the content, not the way it is written. The structure of the journal does not matter; what matters is how the students actualize their thoughts and feeling. Sometimes, a journal is just a set of  “adventure” of thoughts using many useless words, but it shows how the student thinks, how his or her stream of consciousness continue without fear of being judged by the readers (Brown, 2004:134). A journal provides teachers a kind of description about the development of language mastery of the students and their perception on the learning process (Hamayan, 1995).

Interview and conference assessments provide an opportunity for the teachers to face the students directly to discuss other topics in a subject related to the use of language in the class (Ott, 1994:51). Skilled teachers will make use of this face-to-face activity to motivate and obtain information on the students: attitude, purpose, work ethic, as well as how they think about language and language skills. However, teachers should avoid deep questions concerning private and family matters unrelated to the class activity.

According to Brown (2011:139), a conference has become an inseparable part of learning activity in the class. A conference has become the standard part of writing learning process. Teachers use this conference to talk about writings and help develop the writings of the students. Interaction in the conference in the class will give meaningful advantange for the students. Other important functions of a conference are: (1) commenting on writing and report drafts; (2) reviewing portfolios; (3) responding on journals; (4) giving advice to the students regarding oral presentation plan; (5) assessing project proposals; (6) giving feedbacks to performance results of tests; (7) clarifying reading comprehension; (8) exploring strategies to improve performance; (9) focusing on oral production aspect; (10) checking self-assessment of students’ performance; (11) applying future personal goals; (12) assessing general advance in learning.

Assessment using open-response questions can also be used as one of the techniques to obtain information accurately regarding the comprehension of the students. The questions such as in appperceptions activities, when a session of material is finished including the open-response questions. Students directly respond to the questions orally or in written, but concise. Open-response questions are very important to accurately identify how the students participate in learning, including the aspects comprehended or not comprehended, and learning motivation at that time.

Self assessment, though considered inconceivable—is it possible that a student assesses him/herself or his/her friends in language learning advance?—but these two techniques are still considered important and useful (Brown, 2011:144). Self-assessment gets theroretical justification from several findings and principles of language acquisition; one of them is autonomy principle, which is considered as the foundation of learning success. In the autonomy principle, the key to successful language learning is the ability to design self-purpose, both inside and outside the structure of school curriculum, catching it without external push, and monitor independently what to reach/catch (intrinsic motivation).

Self-assessment requires the students to evaluate their own participation, process, and products. Evaluative question is the basic tool for self-assessment. The students give oral or written commentary to questions like: (a) What is the most difficult part of this project for you?; (b) According to you, what should be done next?; (c) If you get another chance to do this task, what will you do differently?; (d) What subject can you take from this project? (Muller, 2012).

Portfolio assessment is conducted to individual work collection compiled systematically, directionally, and meaningfully, designed to document the learning from time to time (Muller, 2012). Portfolio assessment as a kind of technique of alternative assessment is very useful in language learning. Brown (2004:256) states that portfolio is a popular assessment, particularly in communicative language learning framework.

The type, format, and content of the portfolio are generally put into patterns by the teachers. Portfolio collection also belongs to inputs given by the teachers, parents, friends, administrators, or other people. Guidelines can be used to format portfolio based on the types of learning that will documented in the form of portfolio.

The content of portfolio can be learning diary, daily journal, reflective writings, reviews, essays, written reports, poems, self and collegial assessments, photos or sketches, letters, diagrams or graphs, maps, created computer programs, complete assessment scale, writing test results, research proposals, novel analysis reports, and even video or audio records. Collectively, the choosen artefacts will document the students’ development from time to time as well as their current achievement level.

Therefore, portfolio has many functions in learning. Gottlieb (in Brown, 2004:130) coined an interesting abbreviation about the function of portfolio, that is CRADLE, after collecting, reflecting, assessing, documenting, linking, and evaluating.



The development of instrument of performance assessment was conducted in several junior high schools in West Sumatra using Moskal (2003) and Muller (2012) models. The process involved some students from Postgraduate Program of Padang State University who were taking the Assessment subject.

First, the students established the learning objective to be assessed. The objective can be accessed from KN13. Based on the objective, an indicator or specific goals are developed, relevant to the objective and things to achieve by the junior high schools.

For example:

Purpose: Students can write expository texts based on the result of observations (making research report).

Indicator: Students can

  1. create report structure correctly
  2. describe data correctly
  3. discuss data correctly
  4. make conclusion correctly
  5. use language correctly

Second, the postgraduate students develop performance tasks that must be done by junior high school students to achieve the objective. In developing the performance tasks, some things are important to note (Moskal, 2003; Brualdi, 1998; Muller, 2012; and Wiggins, 1993 and 1990). Tasks must be placed in certain context because there is no language activity without context. The choosen performance should reflect meaningful activity or valuable. Meaning or value can be compared to the types of works that are done by the people in their daily life: writing project reports and presentations; writing papers; collecting, analyzing, and using data to make and strengthen decisions. The time used in writing alternative assessment should be equal to the quality of the assessment itself. The tasks stated in the assessment tool do not contain unwanted variables. If you give oral presentation tasks to the students, the spelling aspect does not have to included in the assessment criteria. Alternative assessment should be fair and free from bias. The provision of task order should be built carefully, for example, by omitting gender and ethnic stereotypes. Moreover, such task should not give advantage (hence, unfair) certain group of students. For example, reading poetry task is very advantageous to poetry reading group, but disadvantegous to poetry writing group.

Third, the postgraduate students develop scoring rubric to decide the quality of task and to differentiate the students’ performance. Rubric is a scoring scale used to assess students’ performance for certain tasks based on established criteria (Muller, 2012; Mertler, 2001). The objective of creating rubric is to realize the quality concept unseen, so that it can be used to guide the students when doing the tasks. Rubric also teaches the students how to make a proper body of work (performance) in line with the learning objectives. It also means that rubric document is also an important part of learning process.

Rubric consists of criteria, performance level, and descriptor. Criteria established in the assessment rubric must be stated in the observable product behaviour or characteristic. You cannot evaluate internal process unless this process is displayed externally. For instance, a teacher cannot see through the students’ heads and observe the process of their reasoning. On the contrary, examining reasoning requires the students to explain their reasoning in written or oral forms. Assessment criteria must focus on written or oral display of reasoning process (Moskal, 2003 dan Mertler, 2001).

Performance level normally uses words such as “Enough”, “Good”, and “Very good” (can be symbolized with number 1, 2, and 3 since it points out the quality (Borgiolo, tt)[1]. Descriptor is written carefully, so that it describes the difference of the performance level clearly. It should have words that differentiate the performance level of Good from Very Good.

Fourth, the postgraduate students validate tasks and rubrics. Before tryouts at school, assessment tool is validated by some experts, both study field experts (Indonesian language) and  learning technology experts. Validation consists of contents of study field, language use, and layout (graph). It is intended to make the tasks given to the students can be easily understood and the contents in line with the curriculum.

In order to have a good validation process, the postgraduate students are also asked to make validation sheets in the form of scale with criteria (a) content, (b) language, dan (c) graph. For example, the format below:


Instrumen Validasi berisi Pertanyaan/pernyataan tentang


Butir Pilihan
A.     Struktur Soal 3 2 1
Baik Sedang Kurang
1.    Kelengkapan unsur sebuah tugas kinerja (ada konteks, perintah, kriteria (rubrik)      
2.    Konteks soal relevan dengan tugas      
3.    Konteks sosal mendukung/membantu siswa dalam melaksanakan tugas      
4.    Perintah soal jelas (mudah dipahami)      
5.    Kriteria penilaian lengkap      
6.    Kriteria penilaian dapat membantu siswa dalam memaksimalkan kualitas tugas      
B.     Format Soal      
7.    Kerapian Lay out soal      
8.    Pemakaian huruf (ukuran, jenis)      
C.     Substansi Materi      
9.    Kesesuaian soal dengan KD/Indkator      
10.     Kesesuaian soal dengan tingkat kelas/usia siswa      
D.     Bahasa Soal      
11.     Bahasa soal yang digunakan mudah dipahami siswa      
12.     Bahasa soal bebas dari kesalahan ejaan, diksi, dan struktur kalimat      
E.     Waktu Pengerjaan Soal      
13.   Waktu yang disediakan cukup untuk rata-rata siswa menyelesaikan tugas      


……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………(Jika diperlukan dapat disambung ke halaman belakang)


Padang, ……………….


 Fifth, the postgraduate students use assessment instrument at school (there are five junior high schools as tryout places). Collaborated with teachers, postgraduate students ask the teachers to use this instrument (task and rubric) in writing and speaking learning. The students are given task order that they will do and its assessment rubric. By identifying this rubric, it is hoped that the students have already known the criteria to be used in assessing their tasks. Two instruments (interview and questionnaire) are used to filter data on the comments of teachers and students.

The result of the analysis of interview and questionnaire data show that teachers are really helped by this kind of alternative assessment instrument. Generally, the teachers do not use complete instrument in grading students’ performance, but they state that this instrument is very helpful.


“I thought, this kind of performance assessment is good to use at schools …. I haven’t seen performance assessment instrument like this ………. All this time, I grade students’ tasks by giving scores without clear indicator.” (Teacher #1)


“The students are helped with this instrument because they know what aspects of their tasks that will be assessed. I never let my students know about the the assessment criteria.” (Teacher #2)


“This instrument is good, but I cannot design it yet.” (Teacher #3)


“I hope universities can help teachers (through collaboration) in developing instrument like this …. We are not able to do it yet, especially in deciding criteria and making descriptor on rubrics.” (Teacher #4)


“I have once learned how to design assessment instrument like this in college, but at my school, I cannot design it myself. Universities better have programs to help teachers.” (Teacher #5)


Moreover, from 150 students (from 5 schools), 83% of students feels they are helped by this instrument; 17% states they are not really helpful. Students (66%) that feel they are helped state that they are guided in doing tasks, while 44% state that they know what aspects that will be assessed from their tasks.


The students who feel they are less helped, 58% state that they are used to do tasks like this, 42% state that they do not fully understand the descriptor in the rubric, no one state that they do not understand the task order.



Both teachers’ and students’ comments demonstrate that performance assessment designed completely is very helpful for them in doing task (students) and scoring tasks (teachers). Moreover, a well-designed performance asessment enable the teachers to assess correctly and fairly.

It is not easy to design a complete instrument like this, but collaboration between universities and schools will simplify the process of performance/alternative assessment development.



Alternative assessment should have become the strategy in deciding students’ achievement and improve the learning process. In language (Indonesian) learning, alternative assessment has become a must because it is oriented toward language skill. Teachers can choose more than alternative in assessment and perhaps for the same competition, it needs two or more assessment tools.

Alternative assessment needs instrument that consists of performance tasks and scoring rubrics. Both are developed based on learning objectives. Every performance tasks must put context, task, and criteria. Every rubric, at least, consists of criteria, performance level, and descriptor. If appropriate, teachers can add the quality for every criterion.

It is recommended that teachers, either individually or through professional organizations and collabortion with universities to develop a performance assessment tool for learning and assessment language skills in school.


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Example of Performance Task

Objective: Students can write expository text on the result of observation (research)


This October, many lingustic and literary activities were held to celebrate Language Month. At Taman Budaya, there was poetry reading competition; at Sanggar Prakarsa, there was speech competition; at the campus, there was seminar on language learning. The linguistic and literary activities, in general, were aimed at celebrating the use of Indonesian language well and properly. Moreover, those activities were also held as talent show in language and literature. Every activity was held by a committee and was prepared well.

In line with our curriculum, writing activity report, you are required to create a group project (five persons per group). Every group will make an activity report of Language Month held outside the school. Every group can decide its own report topic.


The report is made under the provisions below:

1.      Structure of report:

CHAPTER I Introduction, that consists of (a) background of making the report, (b) objective of making the report, and (c) the use of making the report.

CHAPTER II Result and Discussion, that consists of (d) data and facts of observation result, interviews, activity photos, and (e) discussion (commentary) on the implementation of the Language Month activity reported.

CHAPTER III Closing, that consists of (a) conclusion dan (b) suggestion. Conclusion is a statement on interrelation between chapters; suggestion is what should be improved in the implementation of the activity.

2.     The report should be made between 10-15 pages, quarto size, 2 spaces, and margin of 4-4-3-3.

3.     The report should be submitted by 25 October (10 days from now). Failure to submit on time will decrease the group’s grade.

4.     The report will only be graded if done in group and the activity reported is held outside the school. The assessment criteria are enclosed in the rubric below.


Rubric of Report Writing Assessment

No. Criteria Performance Level
5 4 3 2 1
1. Structure Completeness All report elements (7) are complete and stated clearly. Only 6 report elements stated clearly. Only 5 report elements stated clearly. Only 4 report elements stated clearly. Less than 4 report elements stated clearly.
2. Data and Facts Completeness Data and facts in the forms of observation result, interviews, and photos are complete and relevant to the report. Data and facts in the forms of observation result, interviews, and photos are complete, but the observation is less relevant to the report. Data and facts in the forms of observation result, interviews, and photos are complete, but observation and interviews are less relevant to the report. Data and facts only in the forms of observation and interviews, with no photos. Data and facts only in the forms of observation, with no interviews and photos.
3. Discussion Comments more than 5 and refer to data and facts. Only 5 comments that refer to data and facts. Only 4 comments that refer to data and facts. Only 3 comments that refer  to data and facts. Less than 3 comments that refer to data and facts.
4. Language Less than 4 syntax or spelling errors. 4-6 syntax or spelling errors. 7-9 syntax or spelling errors. 10-14 syntax or spelling errors More than 15 syntax or spelling errors.
5. Task accomplishment Accomplish project tasks in time (10 days) or late for 1 day.   Late for 2 days in accomplishing the project.   Late for more than 2 days in accomplishing the project.


[1] How do we define “Quality Rubrics”?  http://qualityrubrics.pbworks.com/w/page/3772580/guidingprinciples.)


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