Hi Phi -
Therein lies the rub Phi. Show me the math. Show me your yardstick for measuring how "good" someone is at Aikido. Define what you mean by "level of Aikido" in rigorous quantifiable terms. Then show me how past results must be indicative of future performance.
The question reminds me of Robert Pirsig's assignment to his university class to define "quality". The students uniformly agreed when someone or something was "quality" yet they couldn't adequately define it. With Aikido it's even harder because two people can look at precisely the same person doing Aikido and have opposite opinions about whether its good Aikido or not. The worst Aikido I ever saw done in public was by an 8th Dan at the Aiki Expo. Of course that was just my opinion... I am use he thought he was wonderful. In fact I am sure he did since he pretty much kept telling everyone that throughout the demo.
Of course we can't quantify how good someone's Aikido is. But I think we know it when we see it (in our own subjective manner). I know a bit about how you trained. I can't believe that you think the kind of Aikido you were taught is the standard Aikido one encounters generally. I would presume that you wouldn't feel that Aikido in in pretty much the opposite manner than the manner in which you do things would be good Aikido. So, while you may have trouble defining or quantifying what you feel is good Aikido, I doubt you have any trouble knowing it when you see it.
So, in these discussions, we do talk about there not being enough good quality Aikido out there. I know very few people who would disagree. What they don't agree with is what good quality Aikido looks like. I have finally come to the point at which I understand that there are a number of approaches, some fairly incompatible with each other. Each has its own set of paradigms operating. But within each approach there still seems to be some that is a good quality version and some that seem like bad quality version, regardless of which paradigm is operating.
Anyway, that's my take on it.