I've been running a childs class for a year and a half now. It's great fun and every six months we do a test.
We use colored belts for the kids (but not for our adult class) to boost their spirit a bit. We play a lot of games and do simplified versions of some techniques.
So far I have encouraged all students to grade if they have enough trainings behind them in that semester. I tell them what grade they go for. Basically the curriculum is the same for the first 3-4 grades. I look mainly on the individual students progress more than absolute level. Basically I believe that kids should not be able to fail these gradings. It's a chance to celebrate the time spent on the mat and their personal achievements - not a test where we aim at flunking anybody.
It works out okay. But now I have some of my most senior students (1½ years of training) that have lost focus during training. They have hardly progressed during the last 6 months and they are not really acting as good role models for the others). They are not as such bad kids. They behave okay, they just don't really put any effort into their training and they will seem less competent at this grading than some of those going for a lower grade. Age of cause also plays a role here.
I recently read this: http://www.kenneymyers.com/blog/10-r...benefits-kids/
And I agree with most of what he write. I think it is necessary for these kids to have their grading as something they work at, and I would expect them to grow more serious as they go through the gradings. So what to do.. should I keep them back and not allow them to grade? should I let them know that they need to stop slacking? should I flunk them if they don't do well enough?
Right now I am leaning towards just letting them pass and give them feedback on what they do well and suggest a few pointers as to what they should improve.