This is kind of going to be a multi-tiered question, because it will apply differently depending on which type of school you have: Belts/grades/ranks that are earned through testing Belts/grades/ranks that are awarded when the Master (or equivalent) has determined you are ready A system without belts/grades/ranks For each style of school, I have a different question. Rank Earned Through Tests If your school earns ranks through tests, how do you differentiate between technical knowledge, conceptual understanding, and rote memorization on the test? It's easy to devise a test which covers the basic structure of the techniques, forms, sparring, and board breaking. It is more complex to devise a test which shows an understanding of different concepts regarding footwork, timing, combinations, and tactics. There's the understanding, but also the application. Do these sorts of things get included in the test? How do you integrate them in a way that's easy for the test-taker to follow? Or do you just expect that during the time it took to memorize the forms and hone the techniques, they also picked up on the concept? Rank Awarded Through Merit Some schools have rank to show where you are in the curriculum, but don't have a formal test process. Instead, when the Master has determined you are ready, you move up. If your school is like this, how do you track who is ready? Sometimes someone might get something one day and then forget it or not build the habit, so checking one time on a concept or technique might not be enough. Are you tracking the entire curriculum or only specific things? No Belts/Grades/Ranks If your school does not have a curriculum hierarchy, how do you determine what to teach the students while they are there? So that the newbies aren't overwhelmed and the veterans are still challenged? I have very limited experience in this type of curriculum, so I don't have much more to base a question on. I will answer later in the post for myself. I don't want this thread to immediately turn into a discussion of my school. I want to learn about other schools and how they do things. I've been in a lot of discussions with folks about rank progression (or how rank is a fallacy) and I'd like a better understanding of where everyone else is coming from.