Abstrak School based-assessment of writing skills at primary and secondary levels usually adopts a holistic or impressionist approach. The valid assessment of the compositions is the examination of sample compositions as a whole. Albeit this trend is in accordance with international practice, the scoring scheme in use does not take into account communicative criteria to which Malay language teaching refers since it does not examine language cohesion and coherence. Writing competence assessment should be relevant to language teaching which puts emphasis on language system and use. Hence, learners can construct and use appropriate language structures in social context for educational, vocational, and daily purposes. This article presents research findings related to the construction of instruments to assess Malay compositions at secondary school by applying communicative and discourse models. In addition to the emphasis on test item construction, the article deals with an idea of the improvement of composition scoring scheme which can be adopted in school based assessment.