MSc (Melbourne), MEd (Melbourne), PhD (Monash), FASSA


There have been persistent calls over the last decades for science curriculum reform to better engage students with deeper learning and reasoning. Tytler has been influential in framing science education curriculum policy and practice at the state and national level over two decades through major committee participation and leadership and through his research and public advocacy.

He has chaired the Victorian Science Curriculum committee and been influential in curriculum reform in science and physics, where attention to gender issues, and context based teaching, has been taken up more widely. He was a member of the steering group for the Australian Science Curriculum and authored the framing paper for the Victorian Essential Learning Standards .

He was chief researcher on a major Victorian school reform initiative 2000-3, which explored change and leadership in 400+ schools. This was based on a strong pedaogical framework which was extended under his leadership to develop the Principles of Learning and Teaching, which have been a key component of the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET)’s schooling framework for a decade since 2007.

He has authored a number of influential major reports including the ‘Re-imagining science education’ monograph that was a key reference for the national curriculum and influential around Australia, a report for the Australian DET that emphasized the importance of early experiences with STEM, and more recently the ‘STEM country comparisons’ report flowing from his deputy chair position on the ACOLA Expert Working Group. This report is being widely read and cited.

Tytler has been CI on a sequence of Australian Reseach Council grants exploring an inquiry science approach grounded in representational work, where students are actively involved in constructing and evaluating representations such as models and drawings, leading to more robust reasoning and learning. The approach is informed by contemporary research into the role of representational work in scientific discovery processes. The research around the approach is both theoretically sophisticated and intensely practical, and has underpinned a number of large Victorian Department of Education professional learning initiatives led by Tytler and colleagues. This focus on representational work also underpins the Academy of Science ‘Primary Connections’ program. The research is currently informing development and investigation of inter-disciplinary STEM initiatives. This includes exploration of productive links with the arts to foreground creative and critical reasoning processes in science and engineering.

Tytler’s research over a decade, into school partnerships with the scientific community, has informed current burgeoning interest in such work in STEM. This interest led to the ‘Reconceptualising Mathematics and Science Teacher Education’ (ReMSTEP) project exploring links between pre-service teachers, schools and teachers with the STEM research and development community.

Tytler was a member of the Science Expert Group for PISA 2015 and a member of the Expert Advisory Board for a major European Commission science education project focused on ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’.

  • Member of the External Advisory Board to the European Council research project “Promoting Attainment of Responsible Research and Innovation in Science Education” (PARRISE) involving 18 universities across 11 countries.
  • Deputy chair of Expert Working group on international STEM comparisons, as part of the Safeguarding Australia's Future' project managed by the Australian Council of Learned Academies. 2012-2013.
  • Member of Science Expert Group for the OECD PISA 2015 science framework development.

2016 Alfred Deakin Professorship, Deakin University.

2014 Svend Peterson Lecture Award, presented by the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Stockholm University.

‘Most valuable paper’ award by the journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006.

  1. Tytler, R., Williams, G., Hobbs, L., & Anderson, J. (2019). Challenges and opportunities for a STEM interdisciplinary agenda. In B. Doig, J. Williams, D. Swanson, R. Borromeo Ferri, P. Drake (Eds) Interdisciplinary Mathematics Education: The State of the Art and Beyond (pp. 51-81). Springer ICME series.
  2. Tytler, R., Prain, V., & Hubber, P. (2018). Representation construction as a core disciplinary literacy. In K-S. Tang & K. Danielsson (Eds) (2018). Global developments in literacy research for science education (pp. 301-317). Singapore: Springer.
  3. Dinham, S., Tytler, R., Corrigan, D., &. Hoxley, D. (Eds) (2018). Reconceptualising Maths and Science Teaching and Learning. Camberwell: ACER press.
  4. Tytler, R., (2018). STEM Education for the 21st Century. OECD commissioned paper. Paris: OECD.
  5. Olander, C., Wickman, P-O., Ingerman, A., & Tytler, R. (2018). Representations as mediation between purposes as junior secondary science students learn about the human body. International Journal of Science Education, 40(2), 204-226.
  6. Morin, O., Simonneaux, L., & Tytler, R. (2017). Engaging with Socially Acute Questions: Development and validation of an Interactional Reasoning Framework.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 5(47). 825-851.
  7. Tytler, R., Symington, D., & Cripps Clark, J (2017). Community-school collaborations in science: Towards improved outcomes through better understanding of boundary issues. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 15(4), 643-661. (DOI: 10.1007/s10763-015-9711-9)
  8. Tytler, R., & Aranda, G. (2015). Expert teachers’ discursive moves in science classroom interactive talk. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education. 13(2), 425-446. DOI 10.1007/s10763-015-9617-6
  9. Prain, V., & Tytler, R. (2012). Learning through constructing representations in science: A framework of representational construction affordances. International Journal of Science Education, 34(17), 2751-2773.
  10. Ainsworth, S., Prain, V., & Tytler, R. (2011). Drawing to learn in science. Science, 333 (26 August), 1096-1097.