Dr Naomi Winstone

Research Interests

Naomi is a cognitive psychologist specialising in learning behaviour and engagement with education. Naomi’s research focuses on the processing and implementation of feedback, educational transitions, and educational identities. Her work has been published in leading journals including Educational Psychologist, Studies in Higher Education, and Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, as well as the Times Higher. Her work has been funded by the Higher Education Academy, the Medical Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and the Society for Research into Higher Education. Naomi is Director of the Surrey Assessment and Learning Lab.

Naomi has extensive experience of academic leadership, having held the positions of Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey, and Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey.

Naomi is an Academic Consultant for the Higher Education Academy, and through this role has published the Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit, an evidence-based set of resources to support students in becoming more proficient in implementing the feedback that they receive. She also runs CPD events and workshops at Universities, Schools and Colleges across the UK, to support educators and students to enhance the impact of assessment and feedback on learning and development. Naomi is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a National Teaching Fellow.

Research Collaborations

External Collaborations:

Professor David Boud, Deakin University, Australia
Professor David Carless, Hong Kong University
Professor Carol Evans, University of Southampton
Dr Annie Hughes, Kingston University
Dr Julie Hulme, Keele University
Dr Darren Moore, University of Exeter
Dr Rob Nash, Aston University
Dr Rakesh Patel, University of Nottingham Medical School
Dr Edd Pitt, University of Kent
Dr Yvonne Skipper, Keele University


Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4) Academic tutorial programme
PSY1023 Classics in Personality Theory
PSY1017 Cognitive Psychology 1
PSY2014 Cognitive Psychology 2
PSY3070 Individual Differences (convenor)
PSY3082 Psychology & Education (convenor)
MSc Statistics

Departmental Duties

Director of Learning and Teaching

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 4391

Find me on campus
Room: 07 CE 01

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Journal articles

  • Winstone N, Boud D. (2018) 'Exploring cultures of feedback practice: The adoption of learning-focused feedback practices in the UK and Australia.'. Taylor & Francis Higher Education Research & Development,


    In recent years, there have been calls in the literature for the dominant model of feedback to shift away from the transmission of comments from marker to student, towards a more dialogic focus on student engagement and the impact of feedback on student learning. In the present study, we sought to gain insight into the extent to which such a shift is evident in practice, and how practice is shaped by national and disciplinary cultures. A total of 688 higher education staff from the UK and Australia completed a survey, in which we collected data pertaining to key influences on the design of feedback, and the extent to which emphasis is placed on student action following feedback. Our respondents reported that formal learning and development opportunities have less influence on feedback practice than informal learning and development, and prior experience. Australian respondents placed greater emphasis on student action following feedback than their counterparts in the UK, and were also more likely than UK respondents to judge the effectiveness of feedback by seeking evidence of its impact on student learning. We contextualise these findings within the context of disciplinary and career stage differences in our data. By demonstrating international differences in the adoption of learning-focused feedback practices, the findings indicate directions for the advancement of feedback research and practice in contemporary higher education.

  • Kinchin I, Heron M, Hosein A, Lygo-Baker S, Medland E, Morley D, Winstone N. (2018) 'Researcher-led academic development'. Taylor & Francis International Journal for Academic Development, 23 (4), pp. 339-354.


    In this study, members of a higher education department explore their research activity and how it influences their practice as academic developers in a research-led institution. Whilst the research activities of the team members appear diverse, they are all underpinned by a shared set of professional values to provide an anchor for these activities. Research-as-pedagogy and the relationship between the discourses of research and teaching are explored using Bernstein’s knowledge structures. The authors conclude that differences in research focus (horizontal discourse) provide dynamism across a department and that stability is provided through the underpinning core values inherent in the vertical discourse.

  • Balloo K, Evans C, Hughes A, Zhu X, Winstone N. (2018) 'Transparency Isn't Spoon-Feeding: How a Transformative Approach to the Use of Explicit Assessment Criteria Can Support Student Self-Regulation'. Frontiers Media S.A. Frontiers in Education, 3 (69) Article number 69 , pp. 1-11.


    If little care is taken when establishing clear assessment requirements, there is the potential for spoon-feeding. However, in this conceptual article we argue that transparency in assessment is essential to providing equality of opportunity and promoting students’ self-regulatory capacity. We begin by showing how a research-informed inclusive pedagogy, the EAT Framework, can be used to improve assessment practices to ensure that the purposes, processes, and requirements of assessment are clear and explicit to students. The EAT Framework foregrounds how students' and teachers' conceptions of learning (i.e., whether one has a transactional or transformative conception of learning within a specific context) impact assessment practices. In this article, we highlight the importance of being explicit in promoting access to learning, and in referencing the EAT Framework, the importance of developing transformative rather than transactional approaches to being explicit. Firstly, we discuss how transparency in the assessment process could lead to “criteria compliance” (Torrance, 2007, p. 282) and learner instrumentalism if a transactional approach to transparency, involving high external regulation, is used. Importantly, we highlight how explicit assessment criteria can hinder learner autonomy if paired with an overreliance on criteria-focused ‘coaching’ from teachers. We then address how ‘being explicit with assessment’ does not constitute spoon-feeding when used to promote understanding of assessment practices, and the application of deeper approaches to learning as an integral component of an inclusive learning environment. We then provide evidence on how explicit assessment criteria allow students to self-assess as part of self-regulation, noting that explicit criteria may be more effective when drawing on a transformative approach to transparency, which acknowledges the importance of transparent and mutual student-teacher communications about assessment requirements. We conclude by providing recommendations to teachers and students about how explicit assessment criteria can be used to improve students' learning. Through an emphasis on transparency of process, clarity of roles, and explication of what constitutes quality within a specific discipline, underpinned by a transformative approach, students and teachers should be better equipped to self-manage their own learning and teaching.

  • Cook A, Ogden J, Winstone N. (2018) 'The impact of a school-based musical contact intervention on prosocial attitudes, emotions and behaviours: A pilot trial with autistic and neurotypical children'. Sage Autism,


    Children with autism are more likely to be socially excluded than their neurotypical peers. Since the majority of children with autism attend mainstream schools, interventions are needed to improve the attitudes and behaviours of their peers. Many studies highlight the influence of contact on positive attitudes and reduced discrimination. Group music-making provides an ideal opportunity for positive contact to occur in the classroom. This study evaluated the impact of music-based contact with autistic peers on the attitudes, emotions and behaviours of neurotypical children. Changes in those with autism were also assessed. Neurotypical participants (n=55) aged 10-11 years took part in an eleven-week music programme designed to increase social interaction, which either did or did not include contact with autistic children (n=10). Measures of attitudes, emotions and behaviours were assessed at baseline and follow up. In response to a hypothetical scenario depicting social exclusion of a child with autism, neurotypical participants in the contact group showed a greater increase in prosocial emotions and a greater decrease in tendency to be a victim than those in the no-contact group. Participants with autism also showed a 19.7% decrease in victimisation. Implications of group music-making for tackling social exclusion of children with autism are discussed.

  • Gravett K, Winstone N. (2018) '“Feedback interpreters”: the role of Learning Development professionals in facilitating university students’ engagement with feedback'. Taylor & Francis Teaching in Higher Education,


    Understanding how students engage with assessment feedback is a key concern of higher education professionals. Research commonly represents the perspectives of students and academic staff, yet little consideration is given to the role of learning development staff, despite these individuals supporting students when interpreting and implementing feedback. We report the findings from interviews with learning developers working in a UK University, exploring their insights into the barriers students confront when engaging with feedback, and into the role of learning developers within the feedback landscape. This study suggests that, while many challenges exist for staff and students in the context of assessment feedback, learning development professionals are able to provide a meaningful source of guidance, in partnership with academic staff, and are able to promote students’ development through dialogic interactions. Hitherto these interactions have not been fully explored, yet they provide powerful insight into the hidden processes of feedback recipience.

  • Nash R, Winstone N, Gregory S, Papps E. (2018) 'A memory advantage for past-oriented over future-oriented performance feedback'. American Psychological Association Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.,


    People frequently receive performance feedback that describes how well they achieved in the past, and how they could improve in future. In educational contexts, future-oriented (directive) feedback is often argued to be more valuable to learners than past-oriented (evaluative) feedback; critically, prior research led us to predict that it should also be better remembered. We tested this prediction in six experiments. Subjects read written feedback containing evaluative and directive comments, which supposedly related to essays they had previously written (Experiments 1-2), or to essays another person had written (Experiments 3-6). Subjects then tried to reproduce the feedback from memory after a short delay. In all six experiments, the data strongly revealed the opposite effect to the one we predicted: despite only small differences in wording, evaluative feedback was in fact recalled consistently better than directive feedback. Furthermore, even when adult subjects did recall directive feedback, they frequently misremembered it in an evaluative style. These findings appear at odds with the position that being oriented toward the future is advantageous to memory. They also raise important questions about the possible behavioral effects and generalizability of such biases, in terms of students’ academic performance.

  • Pitt E, Winstone N. (2018) 'The Impact of Anonymous Marking on Students’ Perceptions of Fairness, Feedback and Relationships with Lecturers'. Taylor & Francis Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 43 (7), pp. 1183-1193.


    Anonymity in marking is a contentious issue within higher education. Conflicting research findings have identified issues surrounding gender bias, ethnicity bias and fairness in marking. However, the effects of anonymity upon feedback mechanisms have not been systematically explored. This study sought to understand the effects of anonymous marking and feedback upon students’ perceptions of its potential for future learning and relationship building with their lecturer. First year United Kingdom undergraduate Business, Politics, Pharmacy and French students experienced anonymous and non-anonymous marking of coursework across different modules. Student performance data were collected, and a survey was administered following the completion of their modules. Results revealed that anonymous marking did not seem to advantage or disadvantage particular groups of students in terms of grade outcome. There was no significant difference in perceptions of fairness according to whether or not marking was anonymous. Furthermore, the results suggest that anonymous marking might undermine the learning potential of feedback, and minimise the strength of the relationship between lecturers and students, which may minimise the role of dialogue in the feedback process.

  • Nash R, Winstone NE. (2017) 'Responsibility-sharing in the giving and receiving of assessment feedback'. Frontiers Media Frontiers in Psychology, 8 Article number 1519


    Many argue that effective learning requires students to take a substantial share of responsibility for their academic development, complementing the responsibilities taken by their educators. Yet this notion of responsibility-sharing receives minimal discussion in the context of assessment feedback, where responsibility for enhancing learning is often framed as lying principally with educators. Developing discussion on this issue is critical: many barriers can prevent students from engaging meaningfully with feedback, but neither educators nor students are fully empowered to remove these barriers without collaboration. In this discussion paper we argue that a culture of responsibility-sharing in the giving and receiving of feedback is essential, both for ensuring that feedback genuinely benefits students by virtue of their skilled and proactive engagement, and also for ensuring the sustainability of educators’ effective feedback practices. We propose some assumptions that should underpin such a culture, and we consider the practicalities of engendering this cultural shift within modern higher education.

  • Hulme J, Winstone NE. (2017) 'Do no harm: Risk aversion versus risk management in the context of pedagogic frailty'. University of Hong Kong Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), 9 (3), pp. 261-274.


    Innovation in teaching ensures that education remains fit for purpose in a changing world. The model of pedagogic frailty (Kinchin, Alpay, Curtis, Franklin, Rivers & Winstone, 2016) proposes that educators may perceive innovation as risky, which may inhibit innovation, and thus reduce opportunities to update learning experiences. Within psychology, psychological literacy (the skills, knowledge and attributes acquired as outcomes of studying psychology) is becoming increasingly central to the curriculum. Educators are teaching more applied psychology, which requires new pedagogic approaches and are adopting and modelling core professional values espoused as components of psychological literacy, including evidence-based practice, ethics, and professional competence. We argue that psychology educators (and those from other disciplines) may assess the risk of innovation through the lenses of these professional values. The decision to maintain ‘safe’ practices may reflect a risk management approach, rather than frailty. We propose a model whereby frailty may depend on social context and risk in different educational circumstances. The professional values associated with psychological literacy and similar integrative disciplinary constructs, which at first seem to hinder innovation, may promote innovation which is creative and safe, and will facilitate the development of a rigorous evidence base to inform future practice.

  • Winstone N, Kinchin I. (2017) 'Teaching Sensitive Issues: Psychological Literacy as an antidote to Pedagogic Frailty'. The British Psychological Society Psychology Teaching Review, 23 (1), pp. 15-29.


    Many topics within the Psychology curriculum can be described as ‘sensitive’, with potential for students to experience distress and discomfort. Given the pressure experienced by academics in Higher Education, the potential for student distress or complaints might lead lecturers to adopt a risk-averse approach to teaching, which is well represented by the concept of Pedagogic Frailty (Kinchin et al., 2016). Through interviews with nine Psychology Lecturers, we uncover the common concerns that arise when teaching sensitive topics, and the strategies employed to overcome these concerns. We also suggest that where teaching is strongly influenced by the values underpinning Psychological Literacy, those teaching sensitive topics may be less vulnerable to the characteristics of Pedagogic Frailty, as the risks associated with the teaching of sensitive topics are offset by the perceived importance of exposing students to sensitive topics. The implications for the teaching of Psychology are discussed.

  • Parker M, Winstone NE. (2016) 'Students’ perceptions of interventions for supporting their engagement with feedback'. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 10 (1), pp. 53-64.


    Recent approaches to assessment and feedback in higher education stress the importance of students’ involvement in these processes, where effective reception of feedback is as important as effective delivery. Many interventions have been developed to support students’ active use of feedback; however, students’ engagement will be influenced by their perceptions of the utility of such strategies. We presented students with descriptions of ten possible feedback engagement interventions, and asked them to discuss which would be more useful and why. Students clearly articulated the perceived benefits of each intervention, but also discussed issues that might preclude strong engagement. These issues illustrate that students believe they lack the skills required to engage with interventions, and also show how student emotion and cognition are likely to influence their engagement. We offer some recommendations as to how the framing of such interventions could promote stronger student engagement.

  • Cook A, Ogden J, Winstone N. (2016) 'The experiences of learning, friendships and bullying of boys with autism in mainstream and special settings: a qualitative study'. Wiley British Journal of Special Education, 43 (3), pp. 250-271.


    This study aimed to explore experiences of learning, friendships and bullying of boys with autism attending specialist and mainstream schools, and those of their parents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 boys with autism, aged 11 – 17 years, and 9 of their mothers. Thematic analysis identified four key themes relating to experiences of friendships and bullying, risk factors, protective factors and outcomes. Overall, the findings indicated that five of the 11 participants had been subjected to bullying, particularly those in mainstream schools (four out of six). Further, if risk factors relating to autism or the school culture were not mediated by protective factors such as self-esteem or supportive friends, various negative outcomes were identified as more likely including mental health issues and effects on learning and relationships. Therefore, although not inevitable, mainstream settings may increase the likelihood of negative experiences as they have fewer resources to protect children against the risk of bullying.

  • Winstone N, Nash R, Parker M, Rowntree J. (2016) 'Supporting Learners’ Agentic Engagement with Feedback: A Systematic Review and a Taxonomy of Recipience Processes'. Educational Psychologist,


    Much has been written in the educational psychology literature about effective feedback and how to deliver it. However, it is equally important to understand how learners actively receive, engage with, and implement feedback. This article reports a systematic review of the research evidence pertaining to this issue. Through an analysis of 195 outputs published between 1985 and early 2014, we identified various factors that have been proposed to influence the likelihood of feedback being used. Furthermore, we identified diverse interventions with the common aim of supporting and promoting learners’ agentic engagement with feedback processes. We outline the various components used in these interventions, and the reports of their successes and limitations. Moreover we propose a novel taxonomy of four recipience processes targeted by these interventions. This review and taxonomy provide a theoretical basis for conceptualizing learners’ responsibility within feedback dialogues, and for guiding the strategic design and evaluation of interventions.

  • Winstone NE, Moore D. (2016) 'Sometimes fish, sometimes fowl? Liminality, identity work and identity malleability in Graduate Teaching Assistants'. Taylor & Francis Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 54 (5), pp. 494-502.


    Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) have been described as being ‘neither fish nor fowl’, occupying a role between student and teacher. Their multiple identities are commonly framed within the literature as a key challenge. The present study explored the perspectives of GTAs when discussing their teaching work, through activity-oriented focus groups with nine GTAs from a UK university. Thematic analysis revealed that whilst GTAs showed a lack of clarity over their identity, they are actively involved in the process of ‘identity work’ through negotiating an emerging professional identity. Furthermore, liminality of status, being neither fully a student nor teacher, allows GTAs to operate with identity malleability, adjusting their most salient identity to meet the demands of the situation. It is argued that rather than occupying an ‘ambiguous niche’, GTAs occupy a ‘unique niche’ and the identity malleability they possess affords the optimum conditions in which to engage in identity work.

  • Kinchin IM, Alpay E, Curtis K, Franklin J, Rivers C, Winstone NE. (2016) 'Charting the elements of pedagogic frailty'. ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 58 (1), pp. 1-23.
  • Winstone NE, Nash R, Rowntree J, Menezes R. (2015) 'What do students want most from written feedback information? Distinguishing necessities from luxuries using a budgeting methodology'. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education,
  • Winstone N, Witherspoon K. (2015) '“It’s all about our great Queen”: The British National Anthem and National Identity in 8- to 10-year-old children.'. Psychology of Music,
  • Winstone N, Huntington C, Goldsack L, Kyrou E, Millward L. (2014) 'Eliciting rich dialogue through the use of activity-oriented interviews: Exploring self-identity in autistic young people'. Childhood, 21 (2), pp. 190-206.
  • Winstone N, Davis A, Bruyn BD. (2012) 'Developmental Improvements in Perceptual Restoration: Can Young Children Reconstruct Missing Sounds in Noisy Environments?'. Wiley Infant and Child Development, 21 (3), pp. 287-297.
  • Worsfold N, Davis A, De Bruyn B. (2008) 'The effect of horizontal versus vertical task presentation on children's performance in coordinate tasks'. Perception, 37 (11), pp. 1667-1676.


    Empirical work on children's ability to understand spatial coordinates has focused on the factors that increase children's proficiency. When interpreting performance, it should be considered that presenting a coordinate task on a horizontal surface might constrain the responses that children make because some target positions are further away from the child than others. Vertical task presentation removes this constraint. Children aged 3 to 9 years were presented with an interpretative coordinate task administered on a touchscreen, presented in an egocentric-vertical position or egocentric-horizontal position. The results show that for 5- to 7-year-old children vertical presentation led to far more correct responses than horizontal presentation. Analysis of the children's errors suggests that this may be due to the fact that vertical presentation suppresses children's bias towards responding in relation to one rather than both coordinates. Taken together these findings contribute to understanding why children's performance in xy coordination tasks is highly contextually sensitive. © 2008 a Pion publication.

Book chapters

  • Medland E. (2019) 'Academic Development'. in Kinchin I, Winstone N (eds.) Exploring pedagogic frailty and resilience: case studies of academic narrative The Netherlands : Sense Publishers , pp. 169-185.
  • Wiley C, Franklin J. (2017) 'Framed Autoethnography and Pedagogic Frailty - A Comparative Analysis of Mediated Concept Maps'. in Kinchin IM, Winstone NE (eds.) Pedagogic Frailty and Resilience in the University 1st Edition. Rotterdam, The Netherlands : Sense Publishers Article number 2 , pp. 17-32.
  • Winstone NE, Davis A. (2011) 'Educational Implications'. in Slater A, Bremner G (eds.) An Introduction to Developmental Psychology 2nd Edition. Chichester, UK : BPS Blackwell Article number 18 , pp. 587-612.

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