Chapter 22. Assessing Assignments

"Not done? We got the production facilities on-line, everything is operating normally, I even finished the extra assignment. What do you mean, I'm not done?"

Martha just sat there, smoking her pipe. Finally she said, "Apparently you've forgotten all about the framework of an assignment. So, let me ask you a question: How do you improve your ability to do something?"

I thought for a minute. "Practice. You do the thing over and over, until you get good."

"That's right," said Martha. "You do something again and again, each time changing how you do it, because, as we agreed some time ago, you can't do something better unless you do it differently." She paused to send a smoke ring out over the porch railing. "What do you need to have frequently to help you improve?"

"Success?" I ventured.

"Not necessarily. What you need is the thing that tells you whether you're having success."

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

Martha grunted. "I guess your short term success has gone to your head, Willie, leaving no room for common sense.Not that there was a lot of room to begin with." She scowled before she finally told me. "Feedback! Feedback is what you need to improve. How can you tell if what you're doing is the right thing if you don't get any feedback? How can you improve how you do something without feedback? You can't!"

I gave her what I hoped to be a condescending stare. "Don't you think that's a little self-evident, Martha? I was looking for ...

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