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What’s the purpose of a class change test?

“My child has earned all the stripes required for promotion to the next level, so why does he (or she) need to take another test to be able to graduate this season?”


That’s a great question that we get from time to time, so we thought we’d give you a little more insight into why we have class change tests.

The first thing you need to know about these tests is that they are only for certain belt ranks. Green, advanced purple, and advanced red belts are the only belt ranks who take these class change tests. They are all ranks that are moving up to a completely new class with a more advanced curriculum than the class they currently take. The Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced classes each have a specific set of techniques that need to be learned before a student is prepared to move to the next class. We want to make sure that students who move to the next level are prepared for the new curriculum they’re going to see. The class change test allows us to evaluate a student’s skill. It also allows each student to review techniques he or she may not have seen for a while and brush up on skills.

Another reason we hold class change tests is to prepare students for stressful situations, including the novice black belt test and eventually, we hope,  the black belt test. If a student’s first testing situation is on a novice test, that puts a student at a disadvantage. The novice test puts a student through almost three years of curriculum, which is quite stressful. Imagine doing that along with never having gone through a testing situation like that. Not the most ideal situation. The class change test helps alleviate some of that testing anxiety and stress by creating a more familiar environment.

The class change test is also a great time for feedback. It’s not just a test for our students. It’s a time when instructors evaluate how students are retaining and then recalling what they’ve learned in class. It’s also a time that instructors can evaluate themselves. If we see that a number of students don’t perform well in one area, that may be a cue for the instructor to focus more on those techniques in class, or maybe focus on them in a different way.

And one final thought — this is a great time for parents to watch your kids and get lots of great video and pictures of your kids doing all the karate things they’ve learned in their time at the Dojo!