Last, I do want to point out, in regards to varying degrees of graduation/testing, that in Aikido, there is actually fairly straight forward rules to the testing. Head over to the Aikikai Hombu Dojo website, and they have a quite detailed list for the amount of training and time needed to take the different tests. The American Aikido Foundation (think it's called that?) also has a similar list, detailed hours of training needed, and skills that need testing for each graduation.
The interesting thing here. At least as far as ASU goes. 1 training day= 1 hour no matter how many days of training you actually had that day it still only counts as 1 hour. I could go to a seminar and d 4 hours and still it is 1 hour. I can go to class 3 days a week train 2 hours each day and be credited the same training time as the fellow who comes to class 3 days a week and only trains 1 hour. And by that rule, were that person and I to train for the specified number of hours we would both be eligible to advance at the same time in spite of the fact that I in reality put in twice as much effort.
None of it really matters though if the teachers are not just abiding by the time period/hours trained and are not allowing a student to test until he reaches the appropriate skill level to merit advancement. And that is a bit harder to weigh and measure I think.