Re: Grading question advice please
If multiple people teach on multiple evenings, as is the case with our dojo, it is very hard for any one teacher to know all of the students in detail. I know our head instructor has students whom she sees no more than 5-6 times a year, and most of those are seminars. She is not able to attend every class--she has a demanding day job and a long commute.
This makes it difficult to use a model which relies on having one person who knows about all the students and is current on their level of ability. I think we've been ill-served by keeping such a model. It probably works very well if a single person is doing the teaching, but we have five.
I am not trying to diss my sensei here. I think she does a good job considering how difficult the problem is. But the Japanese model, which she feels compelled by association culture to use, is hard to adapt to our circumstances.