National Numeracy Learning Progression

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Measuring time description

This sub-element describes how a student becomes increasingly aware of the passage of time. A student appreciates units of time are associated with regularly occurring events, such as the rotation of Earth or the swing of a pendulum. They apply units and conventions associated with measuring and recording the succession and duration of time. Analogue clocks are used in telling time as they better reflect the non-decimal units of hours, minutes and seconds. The hour locations of the clock face can also be used as a way of providing bearings (at ‘3 o’clock’).

Some students will communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies to demonstrate their numeracy skills. This may include digital technologies, sign language, braille, real objects, photographs and pictographs.

Each sub-element level has been identified by upper-case initials and in some cases lower-case letters of the sub-element name followed by ascending numbers. The abbreviation for this sub-element is MeT. The listing of indicators within each level is non-hierarchical. Subheadings have been included to group related indicators. Where appropriate, examples have been provided in brackets following an indicator.


Sequencing time

  • uses the language of time to describe events in relation to past, present and future (yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week)
  • applies understanding of passage of time to sequence daily events


Telling time

  • uses the appropriate time unit to describe the duration of events (uses minutes to describe time taken to clean teeth whereas uses hours to describe the duration of a long-distance car trip)
  • reads time on analogue clocks to the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour


  • names and orders months of the year
  • recognises a sequence of seasons on a calendar
  • uses a calendar to identify the date


Units of time

  • uses standard instruments and units to describe and measure time to minutes
  • reads and interprets different representations of time on an analogue clock, digital clock or timer


Relating units of time

  • explains the relationship between different units of time (months and years; seconds, minutes and hours)
  • uses am and pm notation to distinguish between 12-hour time and 24-hour notation
  • determines elapsed time using different units (hours and minutes, days and weeks)


Time zones

  • uses appropriate units for measuring both large and small durations of time (millenniums, nanoseconds)
  • interprets 12- and 24-hour time within a single time zone
  • identifies issues associated with different time zones
  • identifies the relationship between longitude and time zones (investigates the location of the international date line)