In the Structural Equation Modeling method of analysis, the gradient is the vector of first partial derivatives of the discrepancy function with respect to the parameter values. At a local or global minimum, the discrepancy function should be at the bottom of a "valley," where all first partial derivatives are zero, so the elements of the gradient should all be near to zero when a minimum is obtained.

The elements of the gradient, by themselves, can, on occasion, be somewhat unreliable as indicators of when convergence has occurred, especially when the model fit is not good and the discrepancy function value itself is quite large. For this reason, the gradient is not employed as a convergence criterion by this program.