Mathematics has always been regarded as one of the more important subjects in the curriculum; at present about one-seventh of the teaching time in secondary schools is devoted to it. The impression given to many studying mathematics is that the object of each exercise is to obtain the right answer by a method acceptable to the teacher or the examiner. One of the aims of mathematics teaching must be to make pupils numerate in this sense; the assessment procedures must determine how successful the teaching has been in fulfilling this aim. Despite the time spent in school on mathematics, many adults lack the confidence to use it in their everyday life or at work. At all levels of our society, there is fear, guilt and distaste for the subject. The Committee's report 'Mathematics Counts', published by the Department of Education and Science in January 1982, received a favourable reception from teachers, administrators and politicians.