Natalie Usher

My research interests are in formative assessment, self-regulated learning, and writing development. My doctoral research bridges these fields and asks: what can students learn about writing through peer reviewing essays? I am currently evaluating a series of peer review workshops for students in their first year of Higher Education. The analysis draws on a diverse range of data to look at whether the workshops have an impact on writing quality. In addition, it also examines learning processes, and how students’ task perceptions and ideas of quality change. My doctoral research is funded by an ESRC studentship and I am supervised by Dr Therese N. Hopfenbeck and Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan.

I took my first degree, which was in English and French, at St Peter’s College, Oxford and am now a student at Wolfson College. My professional background is in teaching and I hold a PGCE in English Methods from Bristol University. My teaching experience spans EFL in France, secondary English in London, university level EFL in Chile and pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) for postgraduates in the UK.

I returned to university study in 2012, and took the MSc Education (Research Design and Methodology) course at Oxford. My dissertation was a multi-method study of teachers’ and students’ uses of Assessment for Learning in secondary writing lessons. I presented on this research at the 2014 EARLI Conference on Writing Research in Amsterdam.

I am currently Chair of the Student Assessment Network – please contact me via email if you would like to attend or contribute to our events. You can see our programme of events here.

Alongside my doctoral study, I work as Editorial Assistant on the journal Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice. I also work as a Research Assistant on OUCEA projects.


Elliott, V., Baird, J., Hopfenbeck, T.N., Ingram, J., Thompson, I., Usher, N., Zantout, M., Richardson, J. & Coleman, R. (2016) A marked improvement? A review of the evidence on written marking.Education Endowment Foundation.