I only introduced Judo-style coloured belts on avatars as a stop-gap, but it proved wildly popular with the students – so much so that the old ‘character’ avatars have been pretty much retired. The only problem was what to do when a student achieves Black Belt?
The Judo clubs solved this years ago by introducing Dan grades, from 1st Dan all the way to 10th. Even now, I believe there are only a handful of Judo 10th Dans in the world, so this seemed like the perfect analogy for us.
The problem was how to maintain the level of challenge when students proceed at very different rates. My solution was to make each level exponentially harder than the previous one. How well did it work? I’ve been doing my sums, as you can see above.
About 30,000 students have achieved Black Belt so far, but exactly three have got to 7th Dan. None have got higher than that.
Note that the graph above is log scale. What it shows is that out of all the students who achieve any given grade, only one in ten can be expected to get two grades higher than that. It’s tough at the top, and it keeps on getting tougher.
I am really pleased with the consistency of this. When I set up the grade boundaries, I didn’t know how well they would work, but it seems to me that the grades to a great job of signalling those who really work hard and giving them some sense of status.
And to answer the question in the title … probably not. And that’s just as well, because learning should be a journey, not a destination.