Saylor and Alexander Model of Curriculum Development

In this article, we’ll be looking at the Saylor and Alexander model of curriculum development. 

Education is a constantly evolving field, with new approaches and models being developed every day. Among these models are the Saylor and Alexander curriculum models, developed by two American educators who made significant contributions to the field.  John Galen Saylor and William Marvin Alexander both had impressive careers and left behind legacies that are still studied and implemented today.

John Galen Saylor (1902–1998) was a renowned educator with a wealth of experience in the field of curriculum development. He was a FulBright professor in Finland in 1962 and was an advocate of national assessment programs. Saylor’s work on curriculum development was widely recognized and admired, and his contributions continue to influence educational approaches today.

William Marvin Alexander (1912–1996) was another prominent American educator who made significant contributions to the field. Alexander was known as the “Father of the American Middle School” movement and authored more than 250 books and articles. His work focused on developing educational strategies that addressed the unique needs of students in their early teenage years.

In this blog post, we clearly explain the Saylor and Alexander curriculum models in detail so that by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of these models and how they can help educators provide an effective and engaging learning experience for their students.

Saylor and Alexander Model

Galen Saylor and William Alexander (1974) viewed curriculum development as consisting of four steps. According to them, a curriculum is “a plan for providing sets of learning opportunities to achieve broad educational goals and related specific objectives for an identifiable population served by a single school center.” 

1. Goals, Objectives, and Domains

According to the model, curriculum planners start by defining the main educational goals and specific objectives that they aim to achieve. These goals are categorized into four major domains, namely personal development, human relations, continued learning skills, and specialization. Each domain represents a distinct area of the curriculum. The selection of goals, objectives, and domains is based on various external factors, such as educational research findings, accreditation standards, and feedback from community groups and other stakeholders.

2. Curriculum Design

After setting the goals, objectives, and domains, the curriculum planners proceed to the curriculum design phase. In this phase, decisions are made on the types of learning opportunities that are suitable for each domain and how and when these opportunities will be provided. The planners must consider whether the curriculum will be designed based on academic disciplines, student interests and needs, or thematic approaches. This stage of the development process involves answering various questions related to the design of the curriculum.

3. Curriculum Implementation

Once the curriculum plans have been developed, the next step is to implement them with the help of teachers. In accordance with the curriculum design, teachers would identify specific instructional goals and subsequently choose appropriate teaching techniques and approaches to facilitate the intended learning outcomes among their students in the classroom.

4. Evaluation

The last phase of the curriculum development process involves evaluation by both the curriculum planners and teachers. The model advocates for a thorough evaluation utilizing various assessment methods. This evaluation should encompass the entire educational program of the school, including the curriculum plan, the efficacy of instruction, and the academic performance of students.  By conducting this evaluation, curriculum planners and developers can ascertain whether the school’s goals and teaching objectives have been accomplished.

Saylor and Alexander enhanced their model of the curriculum planning process by incorporating supplementary models that illustrate the components of the curriculum system, the procedure for determining the objectives and goals of educational institutions, and curriculum evaluation. It may be beneficial for curriculum planners to integrate the model of the curriculum planning process with these companion models to create a more comprehensive approach.


Saylor and Alexander have a model that requires an understanding of their concepts of curriculum and curriculum planning. They define curriculum as a plan for providing learning opportunities and emphasize that the curriculum plan is not a single document but a collection of smaller plans for specific parts of the curriculum.

According to the model, curriculum planners start by defining the key educational goals and specific objectives they aim to achieve. Saylor and Alexander grouped broader goals into four domains, which serve as the basis for various learning experiences: personal development, social competence, continued learning skills, and specialization. After establishing the goals, objectives, and domains, planners proceed to create the curriculum by selecting relevant learning opportunities for each domain and determining how and when they will be presented. They can choose to design the curriculum based on academic disciplines, social institutions, or students’ needs and interests.


Once the designs for a curriculum have been created, teachers who are affected by it must create instructional plans by selecting methods for teaching the curriculum to learners. It is important to establish instructional objectives at this stage of the process. Teachers must specify the objectives before choosing strategies or modes of presentation.

Lastly, evaluation is a crucial part of the process, and curriculum planners and teachers must choose from a variety of evaluation techniques to assess whether educational goals and instructional objectives have been met. Saylor and Alexander proposed a design that allows for the evaluation of both the total educational program and the evaluation program itself. Through evaluation processes, curriculum planners can determine whether or not the objectives of the instruction have been achieved.

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