# Attainment targets | Mathematics | Subjects | Key stages 1 & 2 | National Curriculum

Attainment targets | Mathematics | Subjects | Key stages 1 & 2 | National Curriculum Access Key Definitions Skip navigation Access key details Home page Latest updates Site map Search Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Terms and conditions The DfE is conducting a review of the primary and secondary National Curriculum. This site contains the statutory programmes of study for National Curriculum subjects which maintained schools must follow until a new curriculum is in place. Contact us FAQs News Accessibility / Help Register or Login to your account Search Select Area Entire Site Primary Curriculum Secondary Curriculum Go Home Key stages 1 & 2 Key stages 3 & 4 My Portfolio In this section Key stages 1 & 2 homepage Aims, values and purposes General teaching requirements Subjects Art and design Citizenship Design and technology English Geography History ICT Mathematics Key stage 1 Key stage 2 Attainment targets MFL Music Physical education Science Personal, social and health education Religious education Assessment You are here: > Home > Key stages 1 & 2 > Subjects > Mathematics > Attainment targets Add to portfolio Email Attainment targets for mathematics Attainment target 1: Ma1 Using and applying mathematics Attainment target 2: Ma2 Number and algebra Attainment target 3: Ma3 Shape, space and measures Attainment target 4: Ma4 Handling data Attainment target 1: Ma1 Using and applying mathematics Teachers should expect attainment at a given level in this attainment target to be demonstrated through activities in which the mathematics from the other attainment targets is at, or very close to, the same level. Level 1 Pupils use mathematics as an integral part of classroom activities. They represent their work with objects or pictures and discuss it. They recognise and use a simple pattern or relationship. Level 2 Pupils select the mathematics they use in some classroom activities. They discuss their work using mathematical language and are beginning to represent it using symbols and simple diagrams. They explain why an answer is correct. Level 3 Pupils try different approaches and find ways of overcoming difficulties that arise when they are solving problems. They are beginning to organise their work and check results. Pupils discuss their mathematical work and are beginning to explain their thinking. They use and interpret mathematical symbols and diagrams. Pupils show that they understand a general statement by finding particular examples that match it. Level 4 Pupils are developing their own strategies for solving problems and are using these strategies both in working within mathematics and in applying mathematics to practical contexts. They present information and results in a clear and organised way. They search for a solution by trying out ideas of their own. Level 5 In order to carry through tasks and solve mathematical problems, pupils identify and obtain necessary information. They check their results, considering whether these are sensible. Pupils show understanding of situations by describing them mathematically using symbols, words and diagrams. They draw simple conclusions of their own and give an explanation of their reasoning. Level 6 Pupils carry through substantial tasks and solve quite complex problems by independently breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. They interpret, discuss and synthesise information presented in a variety of mathematical forms. Pupils' writing explains and informs their use of diagrams. Pupils are beginning to give mathematical justifications. Level 7 Starting from problems or contexts that have been presented to them, pupils progressively refine or extend the mathematics used to generate fuller solutions. They give a reason for their choice of mathematical presentation, explaining features they have selected. Pupils justify their generalisations, arguments or solutions, showing some insight into the mathematical structure of the problem. They appreciate the difference between mathematical explanation and experimental evidence. Level 8 Pupils develop and follow alternative approaches. They reflect on their own lines of enquiry when exploring mathematical tasks; in doing so they introduce and use a range of mathematical techniques. Pupils convey mathematical or statistical meaning through precise and consistent use of symbols that is sustained throughout the work. They examine generalisations or solutions reached in an activity, commenting constructively on the reasoning and logic or the process employed, or the results obtained, and make further progress in the activity as a result. Exceptional performance Pupils give reasons for the choices they make when investigating within mathematics itself or when using mathematics to analyse tasks; these reasons explain why particular lines of enquiry or procedures are followed and others rejected. Pupils apply the mathematics they know in familiar and unfamiliar contexts. Pupils use mathematical language and symbols effectively in presenting a convincing reasoned argument. Their reports include mathematical justifications, explaining their solutions to problems involving a number of features or variables. Attainment target 2: Ma2 Number and algebra Level 1 Pupils count, order, add and subtract numbers when solving problems involving up to 10 objects. They read and write the numbers involved. Level 2 Pupils count sets of objects reliably, and use mental recall of addition and subtraction facts to 10. They begin to understand the place value of each digit in a number and use this to order numbers up to 100. They choose the appropriate operation when solving addition and subtraction problems. They use the knowledge that subtraction is the inverse of addition. They use mental calculation strategies to solve number problems involving money and measures. They recognise sequences of numbers, including odd and even numbers. Level 3 Pupils show understanding of place value in numbers up to 1000 and use this to make approximations. They begin to use decimal notation and to recognise negative numbers, in contexts such as money and temperature. Pupils use mental recall of addition and subtraction facts to 20 in solving problems involving larger numbers. They add and subtract numbers with two digits mentally and numbers with three digits using written methods. They use mental recall of the 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 multiplication tables and derive the associated division facts. They solve whole-number problems involving multiplication or division, including those that give rise to remainders. They use simple fractions that are several parts of a whole and recognise when two simple fractions are equivalent. Level 4 Pupils use their understanding of place value to multiply and divide whole numbers by 10 or 100. In solving number problems, pupils use a range of mental methods of computation with the four operations, including mental recall of multiplication facts up to 10 x 10 and quick derivation of corresponding division facts. They use efficient written methods of addition and subtraction and of short multiplication and division. They add and subtract decimals to two places and order decimals to three places. In solving problems with or without a calculator, pupils check the reasonableness of their results by reference to their knowledge of the context or to the size of the numbers. They recognise approximate proportions of a whole and use simple fractions and percentages to describe these. Pupils recognise and describe number patterns, and relationships including multiple, factor and square. They begin to use simple formulae expressed in words. Pupils use and interpret coordinates in the first quadrant. Level 5 Pupils use their understanding of place value to multiply and divide whole numbers and decimals by 10, 100 and 1000. They order, add and subtract negative numbers in context. They use all four operations with decimals to two places. They reduce a fraction to its simplest form by cancelling common factors and solve simple problems involving ratio and direct proportion. They calculate fractional or percentage parts of quantities and measurements, using a calculator where appropriate. Pupils understand and use an appropriate non-calculator method for solving problems that involve multiplying and dividing any three-digit number by any two-digit number. They check their solutions by applying inverse operations or estimating using approximations. They construct, express in symbolic form, and use simple formulae involving one or two operations. They use brackets appropriately. Pupils use and interpret coordinates in all four quadrants. Level 6 Pupils order and approximate decimals when solving numerical problems and equations [for example, x 3 + x = 20], using trial and improvement methods. Pupils are aware of which number to consider as 100 per cent, or a whole, in problems involving comparisons, and use this to evaluate one number as a fraction or percentage of another. They understand and use the equivalences between fractions, decimals and percentages, and calculate using ratios in appropriate situations. They add and subtract fractions by writing them with a common denominator. When exploring number sequences, pupils find and describe in words the rule for the next term or nth term of a sequence where the rule is linear. They formulate and solve linear equations with whole-number coefficients. They represent mappings expressed algebraically, and use Cartesian coordinates for graphical representation interpreting general features. Level 7 In making estimates, pupils round to one significant figure and multiply and divide mentally. They understand the effects of multiplying and dividing by numbers between 0 and 1. Pupils solve numerical problems involving multiplication and division with numbers of any size, using a calculator efficiently and appropriately. They understand and use proportional changes, calculating the result of any proportional change using only multiplicative methods. Pupils find and describe in symbols the next term or nth term of a sequence where the rule is quadratic; they multiply two expressions of the form (x + n); they simplify the corresponding quadratic expressions. Pupils use algebraic and graphical methods to solve simultaneous linear equations in two variables. They solve simple inequalities. Level 8 Pupils solve problems involving calculating with powers, roots and numbers expressed in standard form, checking for correct order of magnitude. They choose to use fractions or percentages to solve problems involving repeated proportional changes or the calculation of the original quantity given the result of a proportional change. They evaluate algebraic formulae, substituting fractions, decimals and negative numbers. They calculate one variable, given the others, in formulae such as V = πr 2 h. Pupils manipulate algebraic formulae, equations and expressions, finding common factors and multiplying two linear expressions. They know that a 2 - b 2 = (a + b)(a - b). They solve inequalities in two variables. Pupils sketch and interpret graphs of linear, quadratic, cubic and reciprocal functions, and graphs that model real situations. Exceptional performance Pupils understand and use rational and irrational numbers. They determine the bounds of intervals. Pupils understand and use direct and inverse proportion. In simplifying algebraic expressions, they use rules of indices for negative and fractional values. In finding formulae that approximately connect data, pupils express general laws in symbolic form. They solve simultaneous equations in two variables where one equation is linear and the other is quadratic. They solve problems using intersections and gradients of graphs. Attainment target 3: Ma3 Shape, space and measures Level 1 When working with 2-D and 3-D shapes, pupils use everyday language to describe properties and positions. They measure and order objects using direct comparison, and order events. Level 2 Pupils use mathematical names for common 3-D and 2-D shapes and describe their properties, including numbers of sides and corners. They distinguish between straight and turning movements, understand angle as a measurement of turn, and recognise right angles in turns. They begin to use everyday non-standard and standard units to measure length and mass. Level 3 Pupils classify 3-D and 2-D shapes in various ways using mathematical properties such as reflective symmetry for 2-D shapes. They use non-standard units, standard metric units of length, capacity and mass, and standard units of time, in a range of contexts. Level 4 Pupils make 3-D mathematical models by linking given faces or edges, draw common 2-D shapes in different orientations on grids. They reflect simple shapes in a mirror line. They choose and use appropriate units and instruments, interpreting, with appropriate accuracy, numbers on a range of measuring instruments. They find perimeters of simple shapes and find areas by counting squares. Level 5 When constructing models and when drawing or using shapes, pupils measure and draw angles to the nearest degree, and use language associated with angle. Pupils know the angle sum of a triangle and that of angles at a point. They identify all the symmetries of 2-D shapes. They know the rough metric equivalents of imperial units still in daily use and convert one metric unit to another. They make sensible estimates of a range of measures in relation to everyday situations. Pupils understand and use the formula for the area of a rectangle. Level 6 Pupils recognise and use common 2-D representations of 3-D objects. They know and use the properties of quadrilaterals in classifying different types of quadrilateral. They solve problems using angle and symmetry properties of polygons and angle properties of intersecting and parallel lines, and explain these properties. They devise instructions for a computer to generate and transform shapes and paths. They understand and use appropriate formulae for finding circumferences and areas of circles, areas of plane rectilinear figures and volumes of cuboids when solving problems. They enlarge shapes by a positive whole-number scale factor. Level 7 Pupils understand and apply Pythagoras' theorem when solving problems in two dimensions. They calculate lengths, areas and volumes in plane shapes and right prisms. Pupils enlarge shapes by a fractional scale factor, and appreciate the similarity of the resulting shapes. They determine the locus of an object moving according to a rule. Pupils appreciate the imprecision of measurement and recognise that a measurement given to the nearest whole number may be inaccurate by up to one half in either direction. They understand and use compound measures, such as speed. Level 8 Pupils understand and use congruence and mathematical similarity. They use sine, cosine and tangent in right-angled triangles when solving problems in two dimensions. They distinguish between formulae for perimeter, area and volume, by considering dimensions. Exceptional performance Pupils sketch the graphs of sine, cosine and tangent functions for any angle, and generate and interpret graphs based on these functions. Pupils use sine, cosine and tangent of angles of any size, and Pythagoras' theorem when solving problems in two and three dimensions. They use the conditions for congruent triangles in formal geometric proofs [for example, to prove that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal]. They calculate lengths of circular arcs and areas of sectors, and calculate the surface area of cylinders and volumes of cones and spheres. Pupils appreciate the continuous nature of scales that are used to make measurements. Attainment target 4: Ma4 Handling data This attainment target does not apply at key stage 1. Level 1 Pupils sort objects and classify them, demonstrating the criterion they have used. Level 2 Pupils sort objects and classify them using more than one criterion. When they have gathered information, pupils record results in simple lists, tables and block graphs, in order to communicate their findings. Level 3 Pupils extract and interpret information presented in simple tables and lists. They construct bar charts and pictograms, where the symbol represents a group of units, to communicate information they have gathered, and they interpret information presented to them in these forms. Level 4 Pupils collect discrete data and record them using a frequency table. They understand and use the mode and range to describe sets of data. They group data, where appropriate, in equal class intervals, represent collected data in frequency diagrams and interpret such diagrams. They construct and interpret simple line graphs. Level 5 Pupils understand and use the mean of discrete data. They compare two simple distributions, using the range and one of the mode, median or mean. They interpret graphs and diagrams, including pie charts, and draw conclusions. They understand and use the probability scale from 0 to 1. Pupils find and justify probabilities, and approximations to these, by selecting and using methods based on equally likely outcomes and experimental evidence, as appropriate. They understand that different outcomes may result from repeating an experiment. Level 6 Pupils collect and record continuous data, choosing appropriate equal class intervals over a sensible range to create frequency tables. They construct and interpret frequency diagrams. They construct pie charts. Pupils draw conclusions from scatter diagrams, and have a basic understanding of correlation. When dealing with a combination of two experiments, pupils identify all the outcomes, using diagrammatic, tabular or other forms of communication. In solving problems, they use their knowledge that the total probability of all the mutually exclusive outcomes of an experiment is 1. Level 7 Pupils specify hypotheses and test them by designing and using appropriate methods that take account of variability or bias. They determine the modal class and estimate the mean, median and range of sets of grouped data, selecting the statistic most appropriate to their line of enquiry. They use measures of average and range, with associated frequency polygons, as appropriate, to compare distributions and make inferences. They draw a line of best fit on a scatter diagram, by inspection. Pupils understand relative frequency as an estimate of probability and use this to compare outcomes of experiments. Level 8 Pupils interpret and construct cumulative frequency tables and diagrams, using the upper boundary of the class interval. They estimate the median and inter-quartile range and use these to compare distributions and make inferences. They understand how to calculate the probability of a compound event and use this in solving problems. Exceptional performance Pupils interpret and construct histograms. They understand how different methods of sampling and different sample sizes may affect the reliability of conclusions drawn. They select and justify a sample and method to investigate a population. They recognise when and how to work with probabilities associated with independent and mutually exclusive events. 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