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.289 vs. 200.089

Consider this question from a "programmed math" text (1987):

"Sammy's teacher asked for someone to go to the board and write two hundred and eighty-nine thousandths. Sammy, Sally, and Fred raised their hands. The teacher called on Sammy and Sally.

Sammy wrote: .289
Sally wrote: 200.089

Who was right?"

Now, according to this text, neither was correct! In fact Fred said it was impossible to "write a number no matter what the number was."

Then, the teacher asked the students to write a numeral for two hundred and eighty-nine thousandths...and, Sally was now correct!

Ah, the good old days of the New Math movement of the 1970s. As a teacher, it was so much easier to ignore the heated arguments on number-numeral distinctions..than it is today to ignore the heated arguments on algorithmics skills vs. problem solving.

Source: Wills' Helping Students Read Mathematics, 1987, Frames 245-248