Maths level descriptors

Below are the key characteristics of the different levels for maths.

You can use these to support your child, but they should not be used to make a decision about what level they are at as this is not the sole contributor.

It is helpful if pupils develop their knowledge through practical activities, such as, cooking and shopping.


Working at Level 1

Children can:

  • Recognise and use a simple pattern or relationship, e.g. make patterns with Smarties, like pink, pink, green, pink, pink, green etc.
  • Count, order, add and subtract numbers when solving problems involving up to 10 objects and can read and write the numbers involved, e.g. count some orange Smarties and some green Smarties, and then count how many altogether.
  • Use everyday language to describe properties and positions
  • Measure and order objects using direct comparison, and order events
  • Sort objects and classify them, demonstrating the criterion they have used


Working at Level 2 (a typical Year 2 child)

Children can:

  • Count sets of objects reliably
  • Use mental recall of addition and subtraction facts to 10 and to 20. These are often called number bonds, e.g. 3 + 7 = 10, 6 + 4 = 10, so 10 – 7 = 3, 10 – 6 = 4
  • Know the 2, 5 and 10 multiplication tables and work out the associated division facts, e.g. 5 x 6 = 30, so 30 ÷ 6 = 5
  • Write the price on different products and then your child can put the objects into the correct order
  • Order numbers up to 100
  • Work out how much change will you get, or how much is left if you use half of the milk
  • Recognise odd and evens numbers
  • Be able to count in 5s and 10s
  • Recognise the properties of shapes, e.g. a cube has square faces, a triangle has three sides and three vertices (corners)
  • Compare the length of tables or mats by measuring in toy cars in centimetres
  • Solve addition and subtraction problems
  • Use mental calculation strategies to solve number problems involving money and measures
  • Recognise sequences of numbers
  • Use mathematical names for common 3-D and 2-D shapes and describe their properties
  • Use non-standard and standard units to measure length and mass


Working at Level 3 (a typical Year 4 child)

Children can:

  • Know all the multiplication tables and work out the associated division facts, e.g. 7 x 6 = 42, so 42 ÷ 6 = 7
  • Show understanding of place value in numbers up to 1000
  • Be able to say what’s the biggest / smallest number from a group of numbers.
  • Check the temperature using a thermometer
  • Recognise negative numbers, in contexts such as money and temperature
  • Do some measuring of lengths, capacities and weighing
  • Solve whole-number problems involving multiplication or division, including those with remainders
  • Use simple fractions and recognise when two simple fractions are equivalent
  • Use standard metric units of length, capacity and mass
  • Be able to tell the time


Working at Level 4 (a typical Year 6 child)

Children can:

  •  Use their understanding of place value to multiply and divide whole numbers by 10 or 100, e.g. 47 x 10 = 470, 56 ÷ 10 = 5.6
  • Use multiplication and division facts up to 10 x 10 (a Year 4 objective) to work out bigger numbers and decimals, e.g. 7 x 8 = 56, so what’s 70 x 8 and 0.7 x 8?
  • Know square numbers
  • Find fractions of an amount
  • Estimate how much objects weigh, and then weigh them
  • Find the area of rectangles and squares and work out the perimeter of different shapes
  • Be able to use a calculator quickly and carefully
  • Estimate and measure angles using a protractor
  • Use and interpret coordinates


Working at Level 5

Typically, children can continue to practice the ideas given for Level 4, but at a quicker, more careful and more challenging level. For example, 407 ÷ 100 = 4.07, 5.06 x 100 = 506

Know square roots such as 64 = ? x ?