English as a formal subject is given to junior high school (SMP) level, which the goals are translated as follows: “The goals of teaching and learning English for this level are improving the four English skills. They are the mastery of the receptive skills (reading and listening) and the mastery of the productive skills (speaking and writing), within a specified word level and relevant grammatical structures and notions, in the context of the specified themes which are enclosed for junior high school (SMP) students” (Balitbang Depdiknas, 2002:42).
The fact shows that the result of teaching learning English is still low. Somantri said (2003) that there can be a wonder about the condition of the student’s English ability. The students have learned English from the first-grade of junior high school until senior high school, but most of them still cannot use English as tool of communication. Zamroni in Somantri (2003) found that it not only happened to the students who have score below five, but the students who have score over eight in junior high school can not use English in real communication in their level. Besides, their receptive skills are also below the expectation. For example, the students who have graduated from senior high school, they still find difficulty in reading English literatures (Balitbang Depdiknas, 2002:1).
These failures are influenced by many factors. According to Zamroni in Somantri (2003), it happens because of the education system at school just transfer the dead knowledge where the knowledge is separated from the application. Teachers teach materials that will be tested. The goal is that the students get good score in the final test. While Ali in Ant-O2 (2005) argues that the low of the students quality in teaching and learning English happens because the students are used to memorizing and doing multiple choice assignment. Both of arguments above show that the process of teaching and learning English is not so support the improvement of life skills. Students can get good score in the final test and they can memorize the theory well but they cannot use English in real communication.
Assessment is one of important thing that has important role in education. The importance of assessment in education is stated by Hughes (1989) who says that the proper relationship between teaching and assessment is partnership. By assessment process teacher can discover how far students have achieved the objectives of a course of study. Teacher also can use the result of assessment to analyze which material that should be explained again and which instruments that should be repaired. Besides, assessment is useful for the students to motivate in teaching learning process.
Based on the earlier observation, researcher finds that most of teachers still use traditional assessment. The students are given some tasks in the form of multiple choice, do the LKS, practice a dialog in textbook and another task, which make the students as a passive subject. Traditional assessment includes multiple-choice questions and asking students to respond questions with short answers. Many kinds of task are given in order the students can respond the questions with correct answers in the final test. The product of learning is more emphasized then the process it self. Teacher gives quizzes and tests to assess cognitive aspect only. This kind of assessment is just recall student’s memorization.
In traditional assessment process, teachers give less attention and rarely to assess the student’s work. It brings the students become lack of attention toward their error in finishing their work. According to Kasiram (1984:10), learning will be on the decline if the students do not know the result of their work. The students want to know feedback of their effort in doing the work as a motivation in learning process. Dimyati and Mudjiono (2002:48) stated that students would be more motivated in learning if the students know the result of their work as a feedback.
Under the government policy, the Ministry of National Education develops new curriculum to improve the education quality that is Competency Based Curriculum. The success of Competency Based Curriculum may be consider successfully if followed by the change of teaching and learning strategy at class, the choosing of media, and the choosing of assessment process. (Balitbang Depdiknas, 2002:1). Assessment processes in Competency Based Curriculum are
more varies. One of them is Portfolio Assessment.
Arter & Spandel (in Luitel, 2002) state the notion of portfolio. The literary meaning of the term ‘portfolio’ is a collection of the past work. However, in the context of assessment, portfolio does not represent only a mere collection of the past work. The Northwest Evaluation Association urges that the portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of the student’s effort, progress, or achievement in given areas. Portfolio can be viewed as a systematic and organized collection of evidence used by the teacher and student to monitor the growth of student’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a specific content area.
The indicators of portfolio assessment are daily test result, structured tasks, anecdotal record, and report of the student’s activity out of school (Budimansyah, 2002: 108). These indicators are put on the list and documented in a file. From the collection, teacher assesses skill of the students. Teacher turns the students to see their ability in learning by using portfolio and turns the students to be careful in doing the work, pay attention to the error in their work and correct the error.
Based on the background, researcher interested in studying the student’s learning achievement in the classes which use traditional assessment and portfolio assessment. Researcher was conducting this study on the students of SMP 4 Jambi, with the title “Student’s Learning Achievement with Traditional Assessment and Portfolio Assessment”.