Rina Agustina


Traditional assessments have been used extensively to obtain students’ grades, which decide
students’ performance and achievement. However, these assessments cause students concern
more on their learning product, i.e., grade rather than learning process. This concern may
cause students have low understanding on knowledge. Another alternative assessment
approach, portfolio, is used to assess, evaluate and grade students’ work using rating scale
than numerical or letter scores. This article is aimed at exploring the use of portfolio in
language testing and to analyse students and teachers’ perspectives on its use in the academic
setting. A library study through extensive reading was undertaken to obtain the data for this
article. The data were searched from Western academic perspectives, which were analysed
based on their factor usefulness (Bachman & Palmer, 1996) i.e. reliability, validity, impact,
interactiveness, authenticity, and practicality. It had been found that portfolio assessment was
possible for language testing as it was able to show students’ progress of critical thinking and
to reflect their learning process. The interactiveness of portfolio assessment encouraged and
developed relationship between student-student, teacher-student, and teacher-parent. It also
had impact on teachers, students, educators, and educational institutions. Teachers provide
feedback for students’ academic improvement and students were able to demonstrate higher
order thinking. On the other hand, educators might disagree as the absence of numerical or
letter scores were questioned. Yet, educational institutions mostly agreed to use portfolio
assessment as it demanded less resources, such as funding and human resources, which were
highly required for paper and pencil test. However, inconsistency of the marking criteria was
the weakest factor of portfolio assessment as it had not been well-established. This assessment
was also time-consuming for teachers, while students felt unsure why they did portfolio
assessment. As a result, the use of portfolio assessment would only be limited in the small
class size.
Key words: language assessment, students and teachers’ perceptions, learning

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