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...that is a recent change in language, as for years a 4 was defined as "Fair". There has also been a change for the definition of a 3. It was, again for years, described as "Good", now it is considered "Average".
Much better descriptions of the ratings, no doubt, but both are recent revisions.
"Honestly, after hearing a 4th Division band, do you say to yourself, "Well, that was a 'Fair' performance"?"
A division 4 is defined as "Below Average", not "Fair". There is no UIL rating that is defined as "Fair".
...there's the point to be made that the definitions from UIL are not truly descriptive of the rating they are attached to beyond the 2. Honestly, after hearing a 4th Division band, do you say to yourself, "Well, that was a 'Fair' performance"? Probably not...while being more diplomatic about it, you're probably thinking more along the lines of "Craptastic". More to the point, would a performance that had so many major issues in it that would warrant a 4 really fit the definition of the word "Fair"?
Which brings us back to the discussion at hand: At the area and state levels, is it appropriate to certify a band that did not get a 1 to the next level of competition solely on the basis that they are the only band from a region (and in the past, as one poster mentioned, even at area) in that class?
Something else to think about. In my region, there is only one 1A band. This was a state year for 1A. This band got a 3 at region. They did not qualify for SMC because they did not get a 1. Even though 1A does not have an area round, by the logic in this discussion, they should have been certified to SMC anyway because they are the only 1A band in this region.