Abstract: Many researchers have used the task of comparing the size of pairs of decimals to reveal students' thinking about decimal notation. This paper reports data from 315 Japanese and Australian students on a modification of this task, comparing decimals involving zero. Many students think decimals are less than zero. Some students who otherwise appeared to be experts exhibited difficulties executing comparison strategies that involved adding zeros to the end of decimal strings. Students believing that the decimal number system is discrete were identified.
Steinle, V., & Stacey, K. (2001). Visible and invisible zeros: Sources of confusion in decimal notation. In J. Bobis, B. Perry & M. Mitchelmore (Eds.), Numeracy and Beyond. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (Vol. 2, pp. 434-441). Sydney : MERGA.