To understand the purpose of “Belt Testing” or promotion test in Tae Kwon Do, you should start with a general understanding of what Tae Kwon Do is, then what the belt itself represents, and finally what is a promotion test or examination in Tae Kwon Do. After that, you can begin to understand why the test is an important part of the learning and teaching process.
In the broadest sense, Tae Kwon Do is a combination of an educational curriculum, a physical fitness activity, and a skill that is applied to many aspects of life ---- including the defense of one’s self, and others. Advanced knowledge and a skill of Tae Kwon Do are acquired through a blend of personal life experience, qualified instruction, and intense practice.
The process of testing is setting and reaching goals. The first main goal of a student is to build a solid foundation, and become proficient/expert at the basics. This is the level of 1st Degree/Dan Black Belt. The promotion test serves the purpose of checking the student and the curriculum itself as a successful tool for teaching the lessons. At specific intervals along the path of reaching the initial goal of Black Belt, the student is called upon to demonstrate what they have learned and are graded by experienced judges on their performance. In addition to the physical skills, there is an element of mental challenge that is very important for the student to learn how to control emotions, adrenaline, and focus their concentration in what they have learned. The student gains confidence in themselves and realizes their own personal achievements of abilities that their conscious mind might not have been aware they were capable of doing.
At these checkpoints, called Promotion Tests, the Instructors are also tested through the curriculum they are teaching to their students. The curriculum itself is also put to the test as either students benefit from the training, or adjustments are identified for curriculum changes.