Kolberg's theory specifies six stages of moral development, arranged in three levels.

Level I: Preconventional/Premoral

Moral values reside in external, quasi-physical events, or in bad acts. The child is responsive to rules and evaluative labels, but views them in terms of pleasant or unpleasant consequences of actions, or in terms of the physical power of those who impose the rules.

Stage 1: Obedience and punishment orientation

Stage 2: Naively egoistic orientation

Level II: Conventional/Role Conformity

Moral values reside in performing the right role, in maintaining the conventional order and expectancies of others as a value in its own right.

Stage 3: Good-boy/good-girl orientation

Stage 4: Authority and social-order-maintaining orientation

Level III: Postconventional/Self-Accepted Moral Principles

Morality is defined in terms of conformity to shared standards,rights, or duties apart from supporting authority. The standards conformed to are internal, and action-decisions are based on an inner process of thought and judgement concerning right and wrong.

Stage 5: Contractual/legalistic orientation

Stage 6: The morality of individual principles of conscience