Ralph W. Tyler
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  • University of Chicago, Ph.D (1927)

Career Highlights

  • Professor, Ohio State University
  • First director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behaviral Sciences at Stanford

Major Contributions to Instructional Development

  • Use of behavioral objectives and formative evaluation
  • Educational policy work setting the guidelines for expenditure of federal funds which eventually led to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)
  • Founding member and the first president of the National Academy of Education
  • Evaluation staff of the Eight Year Study (1933-1941)

Findings, Research, Studies

One of the most prominent people in curriculum studines in America, Ralph Tyler is most known for his Eight Year Study.Involving thirty public and private secondary schools, the purpose of the studey was to determine if students completing alternative high school crurricula could succeed in college. There are two salient reasons that came out of the study that significantly impacted instructional development. First, the study confirmed objectives could be clarified in terms of student behaviors or behaviroal objectives.Second, the process of formative evaluation was used to refine and revise the alternative curriculum. Tyler expanded on his research and findings from the study that called for the application of the following principles for instruction:

  1. Defining appropriate learning objectives
  2. Establishing useful learning experiences
  3. Organizing learning experiences to have a maximum cumulative effect
  4. Evaluating the curriculum and revising those aspects that did not prove to be effective


Ralph W. Tyler Publishes Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction

Ralph W. Tyler

Shrock, Sharon. A Brief History of Instructional Development.