3.4.1 Deciding on a stage - Specific guidance: Early Level

The Early Level stages are relatively easy to spot and level.

Early *

If a pupil is at Early* they will not yet be able to complete Task 1.  They are not yet able to use some of the counting principles including:

  • Counting 1:1
  • Using the stable order principle

Early **

If a pupil is at Early ** they will be able to solve Task 1 but not Task 2.  As yet, they don't realise that 2 sets can be joined together to find a total amount.  This is true even when the materials are visible and can be manipulated.

Early *** is split into two parts.

1. Early *** (Counting from one on materials).  Here, pupils need to use physical objects e.g. counters or their fingers and start the count from one.

2. Early *** (Counting from one by imaging).  Here pupils can solve the problem without materials.  Instead, they have, for example, a mental image of that quantity and can count it without needing to see it however they still start their count from one.  They may not keep track of how many they've counted and as such this is only likely to work when the numbers are quite small (as in Task 2).

Watch out for pupils who appear to be imaging but are actually subtly using their fingers or have replaced the counters with some other object somewhere in the room which they are using to count from a distance.

The video clip below outlines the information described above and shows an example of a pupil working at Early Level.  


You may wish to watch this video to get a more secure understanding of what pupils can and can't do at this level and also what this pupil's next steps would be.

  • You could use this as a practice attempt at recording and scoring an assessment. 
  • Pause the video at the end of the assessment and decide on a level before this is revealed.  
  • Decide on what you think the pupil's next steps would be and then compare this with the suggestion given at the end of the video.

You will need:

  • The addition and subtraction assessment
  • The coding sheet
  • The response and level guidance.

Last modified: Friday, 16 August 2019, 11:56 AM