Yeah I had actually barely passed the riding portion of the MSF test. the instructors were very professional, very rigid. Reminded me of the ex marine range officer that taught me to shoot a rifle.
At that point in time, I had been on a dirtbike once (when I was 12) otherwise I had no previous practice with a standard transmission vehicle.
As a ski instructor I understand the dilema of working with a large group of students with VASTLY varying skill sets.
There were a number of "Old Ladies" who rode on the backs of their husbands Harleys who were quite hopeless.
Again, I barely passsed. Later in the summer I got a job which involved me driving around on a standard transmission 4wheeler, which definitely helped me out.
My dad had me work on his R100RS for a few hours in a parking lot with some brief road riding. Then I started using my R80RT which is a much more forgiving bike then the RS.