I'll have to dig out the article, but earlier this year, Blackbelt magazine interviewed a man who had devised an "Ultimate Blackbelt Test" which took a year. Needless to say, there were a lot of non-martial aspects to the test. It involved philosphy, spirituality, being a good citizen, volunteering, artistic areas outside of the martial arts, such as poetry and painting, and of course, an essay.
Now that sounds like an in-depth test...and I can 100% see the merit in that.
Now, I'll throw this out there for some more discussion:
If a person knows that they're being tested, do they perform any differently than they normally do? If this is the case, then wouldn't a test be self-defeating? How can a person deserve to wear a blackbelt rank that changes their M.O. only for the test?
Just food for thought and good, healthy discussion....