Education Endowment Foundation:EEF Blog: Developmental Progressions in Early Maths

EEF Blog: Developmental Progressions in Early Maths

Developmental Progressions are the typical paths that children follow in developing understanding of a maths topics
Kirstin Mulholland
Kirstin Mulholland
Associate for school engagement and evidence use

Identifying what children know now and how we can build on this to extend their learning, is of the utmost importance for educators. 

Blog •1 minute •

To help us achieve this, Recommendation 1 of the EEF’s Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’ guidance report emphasises the importance of developing practitioners’ understanding of how children learn mathematics.

Developmental progressions’ describe the typical path that children tend to follow in developing an understanding of a mathematical topic. They are presented in a spiral format to convey that, although there is some ordering in which certain skills or concepts may emerge, development does not take place in clearly defined linear steps.

Maths Progressions Spiral

Children may develop several skills in parallel or move through skills in different orders, however, they will need to master each of the skills outlined in order to fully understand the different mathematical concepts.

Understanding the typical progression of different mathematical skills and concepts enables practitioners to promote pupils’ progress by helping to determine the developmental pre-requisites for particular skills, as well as to identify relevant next steps.

We hope that these examples of developmental progressions support colleagues’ understanding of how children’s mathematical understanding develops. Further information and guidance, including five key recommendations for teaching maths for children in this age range, can be found in the EEF’s Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’ guidance report.

Download the Developmental Progressions poster below.