Professor Herb Marsh

Professor Herb Marsh

Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

Areas of expertise: psychology (educational, sport, developmental, social, quantitative); self-concept formation and intervention; students’ evaluations of teaching effectiveness; educational effectiveness; peer support, bullying and victimization; gender differences; peer-review process; contextual and compositional analysis; structural equation models, factor analysis, multilevel modelling

HDR Supervision accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1078-9717

Phone: +61 2 9701 4658


Location: ACU North Sydney Campus

Professor Marsh is an “ISI highly cited researcher" with 800+ publications, 150,000+citations, and a Google Scholar H-index = 193. In 2020, and again in 2021, he was recognized as the highest-ranked educational researcher in the world compared to a cohort of 75,000+ educational researchers for both total career and calendar year citations ( pbio.3000918).

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) awarded him a Career Achievement Award. In 2017, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) awarded him the Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award. He is a Fellow of AERA, Australian Academy of Social Sciences, British Academy of Social Sciences, Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and International Congress of Applied Psychology.

Professor Marsh founded and has served as Director for 25 years of the International Self-concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation (SELF) Research Centre, which has 500+ members and satellite centres at leading universities worldwide. He co-edited 9 volumes of the SELF monograph series and co-convened 10 SELF conferences.

Professor Marsh’s research has consistently attracted external funding, including a 100% success record on 26 proposals to the highly competitive Australian Research Council (1985-2006). Particularly important grants include: Australian Research Council “Special Investigator Award” funding his entire research programme for five years, and the highly competitive ESRC (UK) Professorial Fellowship awarded to only a few social scientists across the UK.

He coined the phrase substantive-methodological research synergy, which underpins his research efforts. In addition to his methodological focus on structural equation models, factor analysis, and multilevel modeling, his major substantive interests include self-concept and motivational constructs; evaluations of teaching/educational effectiveness; developmental psychology; sports psychology; the peer review process; gender differences; peer support and anti-bullying interventions.


Highly cited publications

  • Marsh, H. W. Hau, K.-T., & Wen, Z. (2004). In Search of Golden Rules: Comment on Hypothesis-Testing Approaches to Setting Cutoff Values for Fit Indexes and Dangers in Overgeneralizing Hu and Bentler’s (1999) Findings. Structural Equation Modeling., 11(3), 320–341. (5700+ citations)
  • Marsh, H. W., Balla, J. R., & McDonald, R. P. (1988). Goodness-of-fit indexes in confirmatory factor analysis: The effect of sample size. Psychological Bulletin., 103(3), 391–410. (5400+ citations)
  • Marsh, H. W. & Hocevar, D. (1985). Application of confirmatory factor analysis to the study of self-concept: First- and higher order factor models and their invariance across groups. Psychological Bulletin., 97(3), 562–582. (3900+ citations)
  • Marsh, H. W. (1987). The big-fish-little-pond effect on academic self-concept. Journal of Educational Psychology., 79(3), 280–295. (2500+ citations)
  • Marsh, H. W. (1987). Students' evaluations of University teaching: Research findings, methodological issues, and directions for future research, International Journal of Educational Research, 11(3), 253-388. (2350+ citations)
  • Marsh, , H. W. & Craven, R. G. (2006). Reciprocal Effects of Self-Concept and Performance From a Multidimensional Perspective: Beyond Seductive Pleasure and Unidimensional Perspectives. Perspectives on Psychological Science : a Journal of the Association for Psychological Science., 1(2), 133–163. (1580+ citations)
  • Marsh, Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Köller, O., & Baumert, J. (2005). Academic Self-Concept, Interest, Grades, and Standardized Test Scores: Reciprocal Effects Models of Causal Ordering. Child Development., 76(2), 397–416. (1580+ citations)
  • Marsh, & Roche, L. A. (1997). Making students’ evaluations of teaching effectiveness effective: The critical issues of validity, bias, and utility. American Psychologist., 52(11), 1187–1197. (1500+ citations)
  • Hattie, & Marsh, H. W. (1996). The Relationship Between Research and Teaching: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66(4), 507–542 (1500+ citations).
  • Marsh, Wen, Z., & Hau, K.-T. (2004). Structural Equation Models of Latent Interactions: Evaluation of Alternative Estimation Strategies and Indicator Construction. Psychological Methods, 9(3), 275–300. (1250+ citations)
  • Marsh, Morin, A. J., Parker, P. D., & Kaur, G. (2014). Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling: An Integration of the Best Features of Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology., 10(1), 85–110. (1150+ citations)
  • Marsh, Lüdtke, O., Nagengast, B., Trautwein, U., Morin, A. J. S., Abduljabbar, A. S., & Köller, O. (2012). Classroom Climate and Contextual Effects: Conceptual and Methodological Issues in the Evaluation of Group-Level Effects. Educational Psychologist., 47(2), 106–124. (460+ citations)
  • Marsh, Nagengast, B., & Morin, A. J. S. (2013). Measurement invariance of big-five factors over the life span: ESEM tests of gender, age, plasticity, maturity, and la dolce vita effects. Developmental Psychology., 49(6), 1194–1218. (380+ citations)
  • Marsh, Lüdtke, O., Nagengast, B., Morin, A. J. S., & von Davier, M. (2013). Why item parcels are (almost) never appropriate: Two wrongs do not make a right—Camouflaging misspecification with item parcels in CFA models. Psychological Methods, 18(3), 257–284. (370+ citations)

Selected recent publications

  • Marsh, H.W., Pekrun, R. & Lüdtke, O. Directional ordering of self-concept, school grades, and standardized tests over five years: New tripartite models juxtaposing within- and between-person perspectives. Educ Psychol Rev (2022).
  • Marsh, Parker, P. D., Guo, J., Basarkod, G., Niepel, C., & Van Zanden, B. (2021). Illusory gender-equality paradox, math self-concept, and frame-of-reference effects: New integrative explanations for multiple paradoxes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology., 121(1), 168–183.
  • Marsh, Xu, K. M., Parker, P. D., Hau, K.-T., Pekrun, R., Elliot, A., Guo, J., Dicke, T., & Basarkod, G. (2021). Moderation of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect: Juxtaposition of Evolutionary (Darwinian-Economic) and Achievement Motivation Theory Predictions Based on a Delphi Approach. Educational Psychology Review., 33(4), 1353–1378.
  • Marsh, Huppert, F. A., Donald, J. N., Horwood, M. S., & Sahdra, B. K. (2020). The well-being profile (WB-Pro): Creating a theoretically based multidimensional measure of well-being to advance theory, research, policy, and practice. Psychological Assessment, 32(3), 294–313.
  • Marsh, Guo, J., Dicke, T., Parker, P. D., & Craven, R. G. (2020). Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM), and Set-ESEM: Optimal Balance Between Goodness of Fit and Parsimony. Multivariate Behavioral Research., 55(1), 102–119.
  • Marsh HW, Parker PD, Guo J, Pekrun R, Basarkod G. (2020). Psychological comparison processes and self–concept in relation to five distinct frame–of–reference effects: Pan–human cross–cultural generalizability over 68 countries. European Journal of Personality, 34(2):180-202. doi:1002/per.2232
  • Marsh, Pekrun, R., Parker, P. D., Murayama, K., Guo, J., Dicke, T., & Arens, A. K. (2019). The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: Beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies. Journal of Educational Psychology., 111(2), 331–353.
  • Marsh, Pekrun, R., Parker, P. D., Murayama, K., Guo, J., Dicke, T., & Arens, A. K. (2019). The murky distinction between self-concept and self-efficacy: Beware of lurking jingle-jangle fallacies. Journal of Educational Psychology., 111(2), 331–353.
  • Marsh, Guo, J., Parker, P. D., Nagengast, B., Asparouhov, T., Muthén, B., & Dicke, T. (2018). What to do when scalar invariance fails: The extended alignment method for multi-group factor analysis comparison of latent means across many groups. Psychological Methods, 23(3), 524–545.
  • Marsh, Pekrun, R., Murayama, K., Arens, A. K., Parker, P. D., Guo, J., & Dicke, T. (2018). An integrated model of academic self-concept development: Academic self-concept, grades, test scores, and tracking over 6 years. Developmental Psychology., 54(2), 263–280.


  • 2022-2025. $777,500. ARC Linkage Grant: Deadly Futures: Enabling Indigenous Children’s Literacy, Numeracy, Wellbeing
  • 2017-2020. $462,500. ARC Linkage Grant: Cultivating Capability: Explicating Critical Psychosocial Drivers of Educational Outcomes and Wellbeing for High-Ability Aboriginal Students (LP140100481)
  • 2017-18 $50,000. ACU Internal Grant. Well-Being Profile (WB-Pro): Creating a high quality muttidimensional measure of subjective well-being to advance research and policy (with Felicia Huppert)
  • 2016-2018. $583,500. ARC Linkage Grant: School Principals Diminishing Wellbeing: What Makes A Positive Difference? (with Phil Riley, Phil Parker, Theresa Dickie) LP160101056
  • 2016-2018. $642,000. ARC Linkage Grant: May the Force be With You: Furthering Fresh Futures for NSW Police Psychological Strengths, Wellbeing and Retention (with R. Craven, P. Parker, A. Morin, M. Vickers, J. Meyer, R. Ryan) (LP140100100)
  • 2016-2018. $349,758.00. ARC Linkage Grant: The Helmsman Project: Giving at-risk adolescents skills to navigate life's journey and make a difference (LP140100041
  • 2014-2017. $462,000. ARC Linkage Grant: Cultivating Capability: Explicating Critical Psychosocial Drivers of Educational Outcomes and Wellbeing for High-Ability Aboriginal Students (with Rhonda Crave, Janet Mooney, Anthony Dillon) LP140100481
  • 2013-2015. $343,000. ARC Discovery Grant: Making Australia Internationally Competitive: Driving Educational Attainment by Academic Motivation, Self-concept, Engagement, and Aspirations. (Marsh, Morin, Parker). DP130102713
  • 2008-2011.$600,000. ARC Discovery Grant: Realising gifted students? potential: Elucidating psychosocial determinants and the impact of different educational settings on educational outcomes and psychosocial wellbeing. (Craven, Marsh, Yeung, Wheeler, M Seaton). DP0877868.
  • 2008-2011. £517,000. ESRC Professorial Fellowship: Value Adding In Diverse Educational Contexts: Substantive-Methodological Synergies That Address Complex Issues With Sophisticated Methodology. [ESRC’s most prestigious research grant, awarded each year to only 3-5 leading UK social science researchers “to create and evolve their own creative and ground-breaking research agendas” covering full professorial salary and research programme costs]. (RES-051-27-0259).
  • 2008-2010. £95,000 Relations between specific and global domains of self-concept. A substantive methodological synergy (Marsh Scalas) UK ESRC (RES-000-22-2960)
  • 2007-2008. £87,000 A Multilevel Approach to Meta-Analysis for the Social Sciences. (Marsh, O’Mara, Malmberg) United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council (RES-035-25-0045).
  • 2007-2010. £20,000 National Student Survey of Educational Experience in United Kingdom Universities. (Marsh). Higher Education Funding Council for England (UK) and and Higher Education Authority (UK).
  • 2006-2008. £92,000 Effectiveness of Self-concept Intervention Studies and A Comparison of Traditional and Multilevel Methods of Meta-Analysis. (Marsh, O’Mara). United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-22-1904).
  • 2005-2008. $544,000. Beyond Bullying in Primary Schools: Explicating Psychosocial Antecedents and Implementing an Effective Intervention to Enhance Pro-Social Behaviour, Well-being and Academic Engagement (Marsh, Craven, Dowson, Bezzina). ARC Linkage (LP0667928).
  • 2003-2005. $337,122 Psychological determinants of physical activity across the life span and critical life-stage transitions: Cross-sectional, longitudinal causal modelling, and experimental interventions (Marsh, Jackson, Brown & Martin). ARC Discovery (DP0450555).
  • 2000-2003. $ 137,221. Bridging Transition to High School: A critical analysis of the Peer Support Program’s impact on self-concept and desirable educational outcomes. ARC Linkage [Industry Partners: Peer Support Foundation; Catholic Education Commission] (C00002213).
  • 2000-2003. $ 144,766.00 Stamping out school bullying: A timely critical analysis of a new innovative intervention's impact on self-concept, violence, aggression and victimisation (Marsh, Craven, Williamson, Jenkin, Brennan, Hong, Penny). ARC Linkage [Redbank House, Westmead Hospital; NSW Dept of Health, Marist Educ Centre, Catholic Educ Office] (C00002211).
  • $ 10,600Effects of Hong Kong school types on academic self-concept, academic achievement, & motivation: Cross-cultural comparison & extensions of Australian Research. ARC International Research Exchange (with Chinese Univ Hong Kong);
  • 1998-2003. $ 750,000, ARC Special Investigator Award for Self-Concept Research (funding equivalent to 3 “average” Large ARC grants a year for 5 years).
  • 1997-98. An Evaluation of Psychometric Properties of Ratings Based on the Large ARC Proposals. Internal Research Grant Scheme/ARC (in collaboration with Professor Max Brennan, Director, ARC).
  • 1997-98. Enhancing self-concept: A critical meta-investigative analysis elucidating successful theory, research and practice for educational settings (With R. Craven) Large ARC Grant.
  • 1996-98. Performing Arts High Schools: The Role of Self-Concept and Motivation in Realising the Potential of Artistically Talented Youth (With D. Russel-Bowie and L Roche) Large ARC Grant.
  • 1995-97. Who Benefits Most from What Type of Gifted and Talented Class: The Importance of Individual Student Characteristics and Classroom Climate (With R. Craven & M. Print). Large ARC Grant.
  • 1995-96. The Effects of Attending the Australian Institute of Sport or Westfields Sports High School on the Physical Self-concepts of Elite Athletes. Large ARC Grant
  • 1993-95. Multiple Dimensions of Physical Self-Concept and Health Related Physical Fitness: Measurement, Intervention & Enhancement (with P. Tremayne & G Richards). Large ARC Grant.
  • 1992-93. The Use of Students' Evaluations of University Teaching to Improve the Quality of Academic Teaching Effectiveness. DEET, Evaluations and Investigations Program.
  • 1991-93. The Enhancement of Academic Self Concept (with R. Debus & R. Craven). Large ARC Grant.
  • The Improvement of University Teaching Effectiveness. Australian Department of Employment and Educational Training National Priority Reserve Fund.
  • 1989-92. A Multifaceted Hierarchical Academic Self Concept. ARC (Small Grant Scheme).
  • 1984-86. Transition from Single-sex to Coeducational High Schools (with I. Smith). Large ARC Grant.

Accolades and awards

  • 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award Australian Psychological Society (APS). APS's most prestigious award recognises one senior Australian psychological researcher whose outstanding theoretical and empirical contributions have made a difference to psychology and the Australian Community as a whole.
  • Board of Directors, International Positive Psychology Association
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Social Sciences
  • Fellow, British Academy of Social Sciences
  • Fellow, Multivariate Experimental Psychology
  • Fellow, American Educational Research Association
  • Fellow, International Congress of Applied Psychology
  • Career Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association
  • Wen Lin Visiting Professorship, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Honorary & Higher Doctorates

  • 2022 Honorary Doctorate, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2016 Honorary Doctorate, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich Germany
  • 2016 Doctorate of Science (earned). University of Western Sydney, Australia

International rankings

Appointments and affiliations

  • Australian Catholic University, Professor. 2014-current
  • Oxford University (UK). Professor, 2006-2011. Emeritus Professor, 2011-current
  • University of Western Sydney. Professor. 1990-2006. 2006-2011. Pro-Vice-Chancellor of research (1995-96, 1997). Dean of Graduate Research Studies (1996-2000)
  • Founding Director, International SELF Research Centre (1996-current)
  • University of Sydney. 1980-1990. Lecturer (1980). Senior Lecturer (1982), and Reader (1985)

International journal review panel

Editorial boards

  • Journal of Educational Psychology
  • American Educational Research Journal
  • Child Development
  • Perspectives on Psychology Science
  • Journal Personality & Social Psychology
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • International Journal of Sport Psychology
  • Educational & Psychology Measurement
  • Journal Experimental Education
  • Educational Research and Evaluation
  • Journal Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • Journal of Contemporary Educational Psychology
  • Organizational Research Methods
  • Multivariate Behavioral Research

Public engagement

International advisory committees

  • Scientific Advisory Committee, OECD/PISA
  • Scientific Advisory Board of the German Max Planck Institute, Berlin
  • Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (Zürich ETH)
  • International Research School "The Life Course: Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Dynamics" co-organised by the Univ of Michigan (USA), Univ of Virginia (USA), Humboldt University (Germany), Free University (Germany) and the Max Planck Institute

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