I have been at my organization for around 18 months. I took a technical programming test (basically a C# kata of sorts) in the interview and flunked it. However, they said they liked my attitude and could see I had other skills (outside of .NET) and so agreed to hire me. I agreed to accept on the condition I received the support and training required.
The short story is the last 18 months have been very dramatic. I've had personal issues with my manager and have struggled to complete some work (and also successfully completed work within my skill-set) and feel I haven't learnt from the team as I hoped I would.
I have been studying for around 5 - 10 hours a week in my free time and feel I have improved my C# / .NET skills by a decent amount since starting.
Yesterday, my manager came to my desk, asked me to close all applications and turn off my internet connection. He then inserted a flash drive into my machine and said I had 30 minutes to complete a programming challenge. It was the same one I was given in the interview (I hadn't attempted it since).
There were 9 'stages' to the challenge. I believe I could have completed all of them but due to the time constraint I only managed 3.
In a follow up meeting, I was told that a 33% success rate is not good enough and that I need to show significant improvement in the next 6 months.
I feel that this kata didn't represent my learning, it was very niche and I didn't get to demonstrate all of the things I've learnt that were outside the scope of the challenge.
What can I do to show 'significant improvement' from here? I have asked what I should be learning specifically but just get told 'it's your career, you decide', which frustrates me.