Re: early kyu expectations
My experience is similar. 3rd kyus are generally a big step above 4th and below. They know a much wider range of techniques, their ukemi is of a higher standard, etc. The difference between 4th and 5th (speaking as a recenth 5th myself) is minor.
I 'know' the techniques I am supposed to, I just don't get all of the details right when I perform them. My ukemi is merely bad, but it was awful.
I know of one 3rd kyu who cannot roll for toffee, yet their techniques are very good.