The Tyler Rationale

January 14, 2020 7 By Michaela

Attending K-12 from 1998-2011 the Tyler rationale, in addition to the curriculum-as-syllabus model, dictated most if not all of my schooling experiences. When I started to attend a few classes in University that operate on a discussion format, I was taken aback and didn’t know how to cope with such a starkly different form of education. One strong example of the Tyler rationale in my schooling that stands out to me is spelling tests. Our teachers transmitted the information to us, told us we needed to memorize the information, and we were subsequently tested on our ability to do so.

The greatest limitation of the Tyler rationale, in my opinion, is it’s unbending nature. I certainly see the appeal of a “teacher proof” curriculum, however in my experience a massive amount of learning occurs through offshoot discussions and individual connections and reflections. The Tyler rationale teaches students what to think and tells them what is important rather than teaching them how to think and how to discover what holds importance on their own. It removes the interest, pursuit of discovery, and frankly the pleasure from schooling.

Some benefits of the Tyler rationale include: the standardization of education which ensures students across the country to have equally rich educations and allows students to move between schools without great impairments, assessments which can point to individuals needing particular attention, and the ability of those assessments to discover possible weaknesses within the curriculum itself.


Smith, M.K. (1996, 2000). Curriculum theory and practice: the encyclopaedia of informal education. Retrieved from