The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, found that 57% of 8th graders are at a basic writing level and 13% are below that
. Proficient, a term I would associate with the phrase "lowest acceptable level" is above
the basic level. Only 3 out of 10 8th graders can write at that acceptable level or higher.
The next time you are in a room with a lot of people look around and remind yourself that a) a majority of them have probably not read anything significant in weeks (like, say, even the newspaper) and b) most of them would have trouble understanding compound interest, and c) forming a well written sentence would be difficult for a large number of them.