ERIC Number: ED230415
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Students' Conceptions of Decimal Numbers.
Hiebert, James; Wearne, Diana
Decimal numbers have become an increasingly important topic of the elementary and junior high school mathematics curriculum. However, national and state education assessments indicate that students have incomplete and distorted conceptions of decimal numbers. This paper reports initial data from a two-year project designed to elicit and describe students' understanding of decimals. Students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 were given written tests and interviewed individually on a variety of decimal tasks. Of primary interest here are tasks that considered decimals as (1) quantities that have value; (2) extensions of whole numbers; and (3) equivalents of common fractions. Results indicate that students perceive decimals primarily as symbols upon which to perform syntactic maneuvers. Although many students have significant hidden understandings, they rarely connect these with the procedural rules they have memorized. (JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Delaware Univ., Newark.
Identifiers: Mathematics Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 11-15, 1983).