Like Colleen and a couple others on here I am not an instructor, at least not of rank, I think all of us are to a certain degree but I digress. I just got my yonkyu - awarded tonight in fact (woohoo) (tested 2 weeks ago) so I'm making an assumption I'm pretty much at the same level as your student and can maybe relate somewhat. I had this discussion with an ikkyu, Magma here on Aikiweb, and I was like, "Why do we even test? I mean when you have the technique and mindset for the next rank - just award it." And we got to talking about it and now I feel that - yes you should be required to test. If you even can call it a test, I personally call it review. A test is something I don't really know what to expect and it will take all of my will and character to overcome it. A kyu/Dan ranking will never be considered a test - it shouldn't be - not to me at least. I do think you need to be put on the spot however and add a bit of nervousness to it. I personally love 'testing.' (gives me a chance to puff up my chest and show off
But you should be put on the spot. When 'testing' it should all be second nature to you at that point, you should not have to think about it, it should just be 'boom' technique - look at that I can do it with 50 people watching.
Oh - I can't do it right/good with 50 people watching? Hmmmm I guess you don't know your stuff that well. Then again I'm one of those awful perfectionists that someone mentioned, and if I'm not ready for the test beyond the one I am about to take or even two tests beyond the one I am ready to take I don't bother testing. Then again I said I love testing and being up in front and being called up or even showing my favorite technique to class. On occasions some of our instructors will say..."Hey - um Ed, or Joe, or Bill, or Carol, or whoever - why don't you come up and lead class for a while, show us Edkido, or Billkido, show us your stuff and tell us why you do it your way, tech the rest of us." And none of us are Yudansha. In fact we had a 7th kyu teach 1/2 hour of class one night. Oh my where was I going with this - must have been something about being "up in front" or stage fright. To me that's part of testing and is required to move on. In that regard I do disagree with spot promoting. To me it doesn't seem like it was earned. I knew how to drive a car when I was 10, (a manual tranny even) but just because I knew how to drive the car, doesn't mean I just get my driver's license with no test. I think if you want to move to the next level, you have to do everything that goes with it - even if that includes taking tests. Then again it's not my dojo - so I guess it's up to you anyhow