Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 235–244 | Cite as

Prescriptive Statements and Educational Practice: What Can Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) Offer?

  • Andrew J. Martin


Longitudinal structural equation modeling (SEM) can be a basis for making prescriptive statements on educational practice and offers yields over “traditional” statistical techniques under the general linear model. The extent to which prescriptive statements can be made will rely on the appropriate accommodation of key elements of research design, measurement, and theory. If these key elements are not adequately incorporated in educational SEM research, prescriptive statements become less justified, and in many cases, untenable. This is not to discount cross-sectional SEM as a basis for prescriptive considerations; however, it is more defensible to consider cross-sectional findings in terms of prescriptive possibilities and prescriptive inferences rather than prescriptive statements. This article examines what, when, and how SEM can contribute to prescriptive statements in education.


Structural equation modeling Practice Causal modeling Longitudinal Cross-sectional 



The author would like to thank Paul Ginns, Herb Marsh, Susan Colmar, Jasmine Green, and Gregory Liem for their input on perspectives presented in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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