Department of Education

Emeritus Professor Herbert Marsh

Professor Emeritus

College Affiliation: St Cross College

Herb completed a BA (Hons) Psychology at Indiana University in 1968. After that, he achieved an MA at Indiana before moving to UCLA to complete a DPhil in Psychology in 1974. Shortly after, he was appointed Head of Evaluation Research Services at University of Southern California for 5 years, before moving to Sydney, Australia in 1980 to take a position as Lecturer, and then Senior Lecturer, at Sydney University.

At the same time, he was a Reader in Education. He held these posts until 1990, when he joined the University of Western Sydney. Over the next 15 years at that institution, he served a number of roles, including Research Professor of Education, Professor of Psychology, Dean of Graduate Research Studies, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research, and Director of Self-concept Enhancement and Learning Facilitation (SELF) Research Centre. Indeed, in 1997 he founded the SELF Research Centre, which now has over 450 members, including many of the top self-concept researchers in the world, and satellite centres at leading Universities in Australia, Europe, North America, and Asia (see He served as Director of SELF until he departed at the start of 2006 to become a Professor at the University of Oxford.

Herb has supervised scores of Honours-level and Doctoral candidates. Some of his recent PhD supervisions have been in the areas of self-concept theory and intervention, motivation, scale development, bullying, mental toughness in elite athletes, the peer review process, and eating disorders, among others. They generally employ complex quantitative research techniques


Herb Marsh is widely published with 350 articles in more than 70 different journals, 60 chapters, 14 monographs, and 350 conference papers; and co-edits the International Advances in Self Research monograph series. In the most important journals in his disciplines over the last quarter century he is the most frequently published author in American Educational Research Journal (29 articles) and the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psych (21 articles), and second most frequently published author in Journal of Educational Psychology (61 articles). He has a total of 276 journal articles listed in ISI that have been cited a total of more than 11,00 times – including 55 articles with at least 55 citations (ISI H index = 55) and one article with more than 1,100 citations.

He has been recognized as the most productive educational psychologist in the world, as one of the top 10 international researchers in Higher Education and in Social Psychology, and the 11th most productive researcher in the world across all disciplines of psychology. He is a highly cited researcher on ISI’s list of the “world’s most cited and influential scientific authors over a sustained period according to a common standard that covers all countries and all scientific disciplines” (, one of only a few UK social science researchers to achieve this recognition and one of the few anywhere to achieve this distinction in two different categories (general social sciences and psychology/psychiatry; presently there is no classification for education).

He has reviewed articles for more than 75 journals and has been on the editorial boards of 14 international journals (J. Ed Psych; Am Ed Res J; Child Devel; Perspectives on Psych Sci; J Pers & Soc Psych; Structural Equation Modelling; Inter J of Sport Psych; Ed & Psych Measurement; J Exp Educ; Educ Res and Eval; J Sport & Exercise Psych; Int J of Sport & Exercise Psych; J of Contemporary Ed Psych; Organizational Res Methods; Multivariate Behavioral Res).

He has served on external advisory committees for the: Scientific Advisory Board of the German Max Planck Institute (Education and Human Development, Berlin); Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Social Sciences and Humanities for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (Zürich ETH); and the 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.

Professor Marsh’s research has consistently attracted external funding, including a 100% success record on 24 proposals to the highly competitive Australian Research Council during the last 25 years as well as more recent United Kingdom grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Higher Education Authority.

Other international awards include a Career Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association, the prestigious Wen Lin Visiting Professorship from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a visiting travelling fellowship from the British Psychological Society, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and many keynote presentations at international conferences including the presidential invited keynote addresses for 2007 meetings of both the British Educational Research Association and the American Educational Research Association. In 2008 Professor Marsh was awarded the ESRC Professorial Fellowship which provides professorial salary, support staff and infrastructure for an extended research programme, a highly competitive fellowship awarded to only 3-5 social science researchers across all of the UK.

Major research/scholarly interests

Self-concept and Motivational constructs: Theory, Measurement, Research, Enhancement; Teaching Effectiveness and Its Evaluation: Theory, measurement, research, and enhancement; Higher Education with a particular emphasis on students’ evaluation of teaching and relations between teaching and research; Developmental Psychology; Quantitative analysis, particularly confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling, multilevel modelling; Sports psychology with a particular focus on physical self-concept and motivation; health psychology with a focus on motivational aspects of health related physical activity, physical fitness, and eating disorders; The peer review process in relation to both journals and research grants; Peer support and anti-bullying interventions.

Recent publications (2008 and in press)

Journal articles

  • Cowin, L.S. Johnson, M., Craven, R.G., & Marsh, H.W. (2008) Causal modeling of self-concept, job satisfaction, and retention of nurses International Journal Of Nursing Studies 45, 1449-1459
  • Craven, R. & Marsh, H. W. (2008). The centrality of the self-concept construct for psychological wellbeing and unlocking human potential: Implications for child and educational psychologists Educational & Child Psychology 25, 104-118.
  • Guay, F., Marsh, H. W., Senécal, C. , Dowson, M. (2008). Representations of relatedness with parents and friends and autonomous academic motivation during the late adolescence-early adulthood period: Reciprocal or unidirectional effects? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78, 621–637
  • Ginns, P., Marsh, H. W., Behnia, M., Cheng, J. H. & Scalas, F. (in press). Using postgraduate students’ evaluations of research experience to benchmark departments and faculties: Issues and challenges British Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Fernet, C., Senécal, C., Guay, F., Marsh, H., & Dowson, M. (2008). The Work Tasks Motivation Scale for Teachers (WTMST) Journal of Career Assessment 16(2), 256-279.
  • Lüdtke, O., Marsh, H. W., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. (2008). The multilevel latent covariate model: A new, more reliable approach to group-level effects in contextual studies Psychological Methods 13, 203-229.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2008). The elusive importance effect: More failure for the Jamesian perspective on the importance of importance in shaping self-esteem Journal of Personality 76, 1081-1121.
  • Marsh, H. W., Jayasinghe, U. W., & Bond, N. W. (2008). Improving the peer-review process for grant applications: Reliability, validity and generalization American Psychologist 63, 160-168.
  • Marsh; H., Ludtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U. Latent (in press). Profile Analysis of Academic Self-concept Dimensions: Synergy of Person- and Variable-centered Approaches to the Internal/External Frame of Reference Models Structural Equation Modeling
  • Marsh, H. W., Martin, A. J., & Cheng, J. H. S. (2008). A multilevel perspective on gender in classroom motivation and climate: Potential benefits of male teachers for boys? Journal of Educational Psychology 100, 78-95.
  • Marsh, H. W., & O’Mara, A. (2008). Reciprocal effects between academic self-concept, self-esteem, achievement and attainment over seven adolescent years: Unidimensional and multidimensional perspectives of self-concept  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 34, 542-552.
  • Marsh, H. W., O’Mara, A. J. & Malmberg, L. (2008). Meta-Analysis: A three-level multilevel meta-anlaysis.
  • Marsh, H. W., Seaton, M., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Hau, K. T., O’Mara, A. J., & Craven, R. G. (2008). The big-fish-little-pond-effect stands up to critical scrutiny: Implications for theory, methodology, and future research Educational Psychology Review 20, 319-350.
  • Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Ludtke, O. & Köller, O. (2008). Social comparison and big-fish-little-pond effects on self-concept and other self-belief constructs: Role of generalized and specific others Journal of Educational Psychology 100, 510-524.
  • Martin, A. J., & Marsh, H. W. (2008). Academic buoyancy: Towards an understanding of students’ everyday academic resilience Journal of School Psychology 46, 53-83.
  • Martin, A.J., & Marsh, H.W. (in press). Academic resilience and academic buoyancy: an encompassing multidimensional and hierarchical framing of concepts, causes, correlates, and cognate constructs Oxford Review of Education.
  • Martin, A.J., & Marsh, H.W. (2008). Workplace and academic buoyancy: Psychometric assessment and construct validity amongst school personnel and students Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 26, 168-184.
  • Martin, A.J., Marsh, H.W., Debus, R. L. & Malmberg L. E. (2008). Performance and mastery orientation of high school and university/college students – A Rasch perspective Educational And Psychological Measurement 68, 464-487.
  • Scalas, L. F. & Marsh, H. W. (in press). The Role of Actual-Ideal Discrepancy in Explaining the Relation Between Physical Appearance and Self-Concept: A Stronger Methodological Approach European Journal of Personality.
  • Seaton, M., Marsh; H., & Craven, R. G. (in press). Earning Its Place as a Pan-Human Theory: Universality of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect (BFLPE) Across 41 Culturally and Economically Diverse Countries Journal of Educational Psycholoygy.
  • Seaton, M., Marsh; H. W., Dumas; F., Huguet, P., Monteil, J. M, Regner, I., Blanton, H., Buunk, A. P., Gibbons, F. X. Kuyper, H., Suls, J. & Wheeler, L. (2008). In search of the big fish: Investigating the coexistance of the big-fish-little-pond effect with the positive effects of upward comparison British Journal of Social Psychology 47, 73-103.
  • Wen, Z., Marsh, H.W.,  Kit-Tai, H. & (in press). Structural Equation Models of Latent Interactions: An Appropriate Standardized Solution and Its Scale-free Properties Structural Equation Modeling

Edited books and chapters

  • Marsh, H. W., Craven, R. G., & McInerney, D. (Eds.). (2008). Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential: Dynamic New Approaches. International Advances in Self Research. Volume 3. Information Age Press: Greenwich, CT.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Application of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling in sport and exercise psychology. In G. Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund. (Eds), Handbook of sport psychology (3rd Ed.). (pp. 774-798). Hoboken, NJ, US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • Marsh, H. W. (In press). A multidimensional, hierarchical model of self-concept: An important facet of personality. In G. J. Boyle (ed.). Handbook of Personality. Sage: London.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Physical Self-Concept and Sport. In S. Jowette & D. Lavallee, David (Eds), Social Psychology in Sport. (pp. 159-179). Champaign, IL, US: Human Kinetics.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: A multidimensional perspective. In R. P. Perry & J C. Smart (Eds.), The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Perspective (pp.319-384).  New York: Springer.
  • Marsh, H.W., Cheng, J.,  Middleton, C. J. (in press). The Physical Self: Exploring Measurement and Constructs Surrounding Physical Self-Concept
  • Marsh, H.W., Martin, A. J. & Cheng, J. (2008). How we judge ourselves from different perspectives: Contextual influences on self-concept formation. In M. L. Maehr, S. Karabenick & T. Urdan (Eds.). Advances in Motivation and Achievement (Volume 15). New York: Elsevier.
  • Marsh, H.W., & O’Mara, A. J. (2008). Self-concept is as multidisciplinary as it is multidimensional: A review of theory, measurement, and practice in self-concept research. In H. W. Marsh, R. G. Craven, & D. M. McInerney (Eds.). Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential: Dynamic New Approaches. (Volume 3, pp. 87-118). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing
  • Marsh, H.W., & Retali, K. (in press). Academic self-concept. K. Littleton, C. Wood, J. K. Staarman (Eds.). Elsevier Handbook of Educational Psychology: New Perspectives on Learning and Teaching. New York: Elsevier
  • Marsh, H.W., Scalas L.F. (in press). Self-concept and learning: Reciprocal effects model between academic self-concept and academic achievement. To appear in B. McGaw, E. Baker, P. P. Peterson (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education, 3rd edition. Elsevier.
  • McInerney, D. M., Marsh, H.W., & Craven, R. G., & (2008). Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential. In H. W. Marsh, R. G. Craven, & D. M. McInerney (Eds.). Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential: Dynamic New Approaches. (Volume 3, pp. 3-12). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Parada, R., Craven, R. G., & Marsh, H.W. (2008). The beyond bullying secondary program: An innovative program empowering teachers to counteract bullying in schools. Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential: Dynamic New Approaches. (Volume 3, pp. 373-426). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Seaton, M., Craven, R. G., &  Marsh, H.W. (2008). East Meets West: Investigating the Generalizability of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect in Western and Non-Western Countries. In H. W. Marsh, R. G. Craven, & D. M. McInerney (Eds.). Self-Processes, Learning, and Enabling Human Potential: Dynamic New Approaches. (Volume 3, pp. 353-372). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Most important publications (prior to 2008)

  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: A multidimensional perspective. In R. P. Perry & J C. Smart (Ed.), The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: An Evidence-Based Perspective (pp.319-384).  New York: Springer.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2007).Self-concept theory, measurement and research into practice: The role of self-concept in educational psychology. Leicester, UK: British Psychological Society.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2007). Application of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling in sport/exercise psychology. In G. Tenenbaum & R. C. Eklund (Eds.), Handbook of on sport psychology (3rd ed., pp. 774 – 798). New York: Wiley.
  • Marsh, H. W., & Hau, K-T. (2007). Applications of latent-variable models in educational psychology: The need for methodological-substantive synergies. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32, 151-171.
  • Marsh, H. W., Hau, K-T., Artelt, C., Baumert, J., Peschar, J. L. (2006). OECD’s brief self-report measure of educational psychology’s most useful affective constructs: Cross-cultural, psychometric comparisons across 25 countries. International Journal of Testing. 6, 311–360.  (special issue of journal).
  • 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, 1, 133-163.
  • Marsh, H. W., Martin, A. J., & Hau, K-T. (2006). A Multiple Method Perspective on Self-concept Research in Educational Psychology: A Construct Validity Approach. In M. Eid & E. Diener (Eds.), Handbook of Multimethod Measurement in Psychology (pp. 441-456). American Psychological Association: Washington DC.
  • Marsh, H.W., Papaioannou, A., Theodorakis, Y. (2006). Causal ordering of physical self-concept and exercise behavior: Reciprocal effects model and the influence of physical education teachers. Health Psychology, 25 (3): 316-328
  • Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Köller, O. & Baumert, J. (2006) Integration of multidimensional self-concept and core personality constructs: Construct validation and relations to well-being and achievement. Journal of Personality, 74, 403-455.
  • Marsh, H. W., Ellis, L., Parada, L., Richards, G. & Heubeck, B. G. (2005). A short version of the Self Description Questionnaire II: Operationalizing criteria for short-form evaluation with new applications of confirmatory factor analyses. Psychological Assessment, 17, 81-102.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2005). Big fish little pond effect on academic self-concept. German Journal of Educational Psychology, 19, 119-128.
  • Marsh, H. W. & Kleitman, S. (2005). Consequences of employment during high school: Character building, subversion of academic goals, or a threshold. American Educational Research Journal, 42, 331-369.
  • Marsh, H. W., Debus, R. & Bornholt, L. (2005). Validating Young Children’s Self-concept Responses: Methodological Ways and means to understand their responses. In D. M. Teti (Ed.), Handbook of Research Methods in Developmental Science (pp. 138-160). Blackwell Publishers: Oxford, UK.
  • Marsh, H. W., Hau, K-T & Grayson, D. (2005). Goodness of Fit Evaluation in Structural Equation Modeling. In A. Maydeu-Olivares & J. McArdle (Eds.), Contemporary Psychometrics. A Festschrift for Roderick P. McDonald (pp. 275-340). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Marsh, H. W., & Perry, C. (2005). Does a positive self-concept contribute to winning gold medals in elite swimming? The causal ordering of elite athlete self-concept and championship performances. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 27, 71-91.
  • Marsh, H. W., 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, 297-416.
  • Marsh, H. W. & Hau, K. T. (2004). Explaining paradoxical relations between academic self-concepts and achievements: Cross-cultural generalizability of the internal-external frame of reference predictions across 26 countries. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96,  56-67
  • 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 overgeneralising Hu & Bentler’s (1999) findings. Structural Equation Modelling, 11, 320-341.
  • Marsh, H. W.; Wen, Z.; Hau, K. (2004). Structural equation models of latent interactions: Evaluation of alternative estimation strategies and indicator construction. Psychological Methods, 9, 275-300.
  • Marsh, H. W. & Hau, K. T. (2003). Big fish little pond effect on academic self-concept: A crosscultural (26 country) test of the negative effects of academically selective schools. American Psychologist, 58, 364-376.
  • Guay, F., Marsh, H. W. & Boivin, M. (2003). Academic self-concept and academic achievement: Development perspectives on their causal ordering. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 124-136.
  • Marsh, H. W., Hau, K-T, & Kong, C-K, (2002). Multilevel Modeling of Longitudinal Growth and Change: Substantive Effects or Regression Toward the Mean Artifacts? Multivariate Behavioral Research, 37, 245-282.
  • Jayasinghe, U. W., Marsh, H. W. & Bond, N. (2002). A Multilevel Cross-classified Modelling Approach to Peer Review of Grant Proposals: The Effects of Assessor and Researcher Attributes on Assessor Ratings. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A-Statistics in Society, 166, 279-300.
  • Marsh, H. W., Ellis, L., & Craven, R. G. (2002). How do preschool children feel about themselves? Unravelling measurement and multidimensional self-concept structure. Developmental Psychology, 38, 376-393.
  • Marsh, H. W. & Hattie, J. (2002). The relationship between research productivity and teaching effectiveness: Complimentary, antagonistic or independent constructs. Journal of Higher Education, 73, 603-642.
  • Marsh, H. W. & Kleitman, S. (2002). Extracurricular school activities: The good, the bad, and the nonlinear. Harvard Educational Review, 72, 464-502.
  • Marsh, H. W., Rowe, K., Martin, A. (2002). PhD students’ evaluations of research supervision: Issues, complexities and challenges in a nationwide Australian experiment in benchmarking universities. Journal of Higher Education, 73 (3), 313-348.
  • Marsh, H. W., Koeller, O., & Baumert, J. (2001). Reunification of East and West German school systems: Longitudinal multilevel modeling study of the big fish little pond effect on academic self-concept. American Educational Research Journal, 38 (2), 321-350.
  • Marsh, H. W., Parada, R. H., Yeung, A. S. & Healey, J. (2001). Aggressive School Troublemakers and Victims:A Longitudinal Model Examining the Pivotal Role of Self-concept. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 411-419.
  • Marsh, H. W. (2001). Distinguishing between good (useful) and bad workload on students’ evaluations of teaching. American Educational Research Journal, 38 (1), 183-212.
  • Marsh, H. W., Hau, K-T, & Kong, C-K, (2000). Late Immersion and Language of Instruction (English vs. Chinese) in Hong Kong High Schools: Achievement Growth in Language and Nonlanguage Subjects. Harvard Educational Review 70, 302-346.
  • Marsh, H. W., Kong, C-K, Hau, K-T (2000).  Longitudinal Multilevel Modeling of the Big Fish Little Pond Effect on Academic Self-concept:  Counterbalancing Social Comparison and Reflected Glory Effects in Hong Kong High Schools. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78,  337-349.
  • Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A. (2000). Effects of grading leniency and low workloads on students’ evaluations of teaching: Popular myth, bias, validity or innocent bystanders? Journal of Educational Psychology, 92,:202-228.
  • Marsh, H. W., Craven, R. G., & Debus, R. (1998). Structure, stability, and development of young children’s self-concepts: A multicohort-multioccasion study. Child Development, 69(4), 1030-1053.
  • Marsh, H. W., Hau, K-T., Balla, J R., & Grayson, D. (1998) Is more ever too much? The number of indicators per factor in confirmatory factor analysis. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 33, 181-220.
  • Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A (1997). Making students’ evaluations of teaching effectiveness effective. American Psychologist, 52, 1187-1197.
  • Marsh, H. W. (1997). The measurement of physical self-concept: A construct validation approach. In K. Fox (Ed.), The physical self-: From motivation to well-being (pp. 27-58). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Marsh, H. W.,  & Craven, R. (1997). Academic self-concept: Beyond the dustbowl. In G. Phye (Ed.), Handbook of classroom assessment: Learning, achievement, and adjustment (pp. 131-198). Orlando, FL : Academic Press.
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