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The Four Steps of Curriculum Development

"The Tyler Rationale"

Tyler headed the evaluation staff of the "Eight-Year Study" (1933-1941), a national program,
involving 30 secondary schools and 300 colleges and universities, that addressed narrowness and
rigidity in high school curricula. A decade after completing his work with the Eight-Year Study,
Tyler formalized his thoughts on viewing, analyzing and interpreting the curriculum and
instructional program of an educational institution in Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction
(1949). This book was a bestseller and has since been reprinted in 36 editions, shaping curriculum
and instructional design to this day. The book laid out a deceptively simple structure for delivering
and evaluating instruction consisting of four parts that became known as the Tyler Rationale:
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain? (Defining appropriate
learning objectives.)
2. How can learning experiences be selected which are likely to be useful in attaining
these objectives? (Introducing useful learning experiences.)
3. How can learning experiences be organized for effective instruction? (Organizing
experiences to maximize their effect.)
4. How can the effectiveness of learning experiences be evaluated? (Evaluating the
process and revising the areas that were not effective.)
In this book, Tyler describes learning as taking place through the action of the student. "It is what
he does that he learns, not what the teacher does" (Tyler, p. 63).
#1: What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
What Aims, Goals, and Objectives should be sought? Educational objectives become the criteria for
selecting materials, content outlined, instructional methods developed, and tests prepared.
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
Criteria for selecting experiences; are they ......................

Valid in light of the ways in which knowledge and skills will be applied in out-of-school

Feasible in terms of time, staff expertise, facilities available within and outside of the
school, community expectations?

Optimal in terms of students' learning the content?

Capable of allowing students to develop their thinking skills and rational powers?

Capable of stimulating in students greater understanding of their own existence as

individuals and as members of groups?

Capable of fostering in students an openness to new experiences and a tolerance for


Such that they will facilitate learning and motivate students to continue learning?

Capable of allowing students to address their needs?

Such that students can broaden their interests?

Such that they will foster the total development of students in cognitive, affective,
psychomotor, social, and spiritual domains?

3. How can the educational experiences be organized?

Education experiences must be organized to reinforce each other.

Vertical vs. horizontal organization

Continuity - refers to the vertical reiteration of major curricular elements. For example,
reading social studies materials continued up through higher grades

Sequence - refers to experiences built upon preceding curricular elements but in more
breadth and detail. Sequence emphasizes higher levels of treatment.

Integration - unified view of things. Solving problems in arithmetic as well as in other


We aim for educational effectiveness and EFFICIENCY.

Most institutionalized education is MASS education: we want to be able to teach GROUPS

instead of individuals.

Most education is DEPARTMENTALIZED, because we expect someone trained in a specific

topic to be more likely to be able to teach that topic. (This is based upon the notion that
WORKERS will have higher productivity if they do the same thing over and over again,
related to the "social efficiency" theories of Frederick Taylor.)

Generally, we arrange educational experiences from easiest to hardest, and from most
general to more specific. (There is some evidence that this is not the best way to teach--that
students are more likely to learn if specific skills or topics are introduced first.)

4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

1. Assessment- the process of gathering information from a variety of sources that accurately
reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations.
2. Evaluation - the process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established
criteria, and assigning a value (i.e., level, letter grade, or numerical mark) to represent that
Assessment is the systematic process of collecting information or evidence about student
learning. Diagnostic assessment is used at the beginning of a unit to help determine a starting point
for instruction. Formative assessment provides information to students, as they are learning and
refining their skills. Summative assessments at the end of units and a course give students an
opportunity to synthesize, apply, or otherwise demonstrate their learning. Summative assessments
are counted toward the student's final mark.
Evaluation is the judgment teachers make about the assessments of student learning based
on established criteria. These judgments are made in relation to the achievement of curriculum
and program goals, and expectations and outcomes, using information gathered by a variety of
assessment tools.

Dimension of Difference



Content: timing, primary purpose

Formative: ongoing, to
improve learning

Summative: final, to gauge quality

Orientation: focus of measurement

Process-oriented: how learning

is going

Product-oriented: whats been


Findings: uses thereof

Diagnostic: identify areas for


Judgmental: arrive at an overall


What's the Difference between Assessment, Evaluation and Final Marks or Report Card
The overall goal of assessment is to improve student learning. Assessment provides students,
parents/guardians, and teachers with valid information concerning student progress and their
attainment of the expected curriculum/IEP. Assessment should always be viewed as information to
improve student achievement. Assessment and evaluation measure whether or not learning and/or
learning objectives are being met. One could look at assessment and evaluation as the journey
(assessment) versus the snapshot (evaluation). Assessment requires the gathering of evidence of
student performance over a period of time to measure learning and understanding. Evidence of
learning could take the form of dialogue, journals, written work, portfolios, tests along with many
other learning tasks. Evaluation on the other hand occurs when a mark is assigned after the
completion of a task, test, quiz, lesson or learning activity. A mark on a spelling test will determine if
the child can spell the given words and would be seen as an evaluation. Assessment would be a
review of journal entries, written work, presentation, research papers, essays, story writing, tests,
exams etc. and will demonstrate a sense of more permanent learning and clearer picture of a
student's ability. Although a child may receive high marks in spelling test, if he/she can't apply
correct spelling in every day work, the high spelling test marks (evaluations) matter little.
This image summarizes the steps of the Tyler Model.