INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICAL EDUCATION IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.41, no.6, pp.787-804, 2010 (ESCI)
The main objective of this study was to investigate primary teachers' subject matter knowledge in the domain of decimals and more elaborately to investigate their performance and difficulties in reading scale, ordering numbers, finding the nearest decimal and doing operations, such as addition and subtraction. The difficulties in these particular areas are analysed and suggestions are made regarding their causes. Further, factors that influence this knowledge were explored. The sample of the study was 63 primary teachers. A decimal concepts test including 18 tasks was administered and the total scores for the 63 primary teachers ranged from 3 to 18 with a mean and median of 12. Fifty per cent of the teachers were above the mean score. The detailed investigation of the responses revealed that the primary teachers faced similar difficulties that students and pre-service teachers faced. Discrepancy on teachers' knowledge revealed important differences based on educational level attained, but not the number of years of teaching experience and experience in teaching decimals. Some suggestions have been made regarding the implications for pre-and in-service teacher training.