Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Bill and Melinda Gates write in the WSJ that in most workplaces employers build a system to evaluate workers performance, provide evaluations that yield information that employees can use to improve, and then hold employees accountable for results but that in the field of education we really don't know very much at all about what makes someone an effective teacher. "We have all known terrific teachers," write the Gates. "But nobody has been able to identify what, precisely, makes them so outstanding." For the last several years, the Gates Foundation has been working with more than 3,000 teachers on a large research project called Measures of Effective Teaching to get a better sense of what makes teaching work (PDF) so that school districts can start to hire, train and promote based on meaningful standards. "Once the MET research is completed, we hope that school districts will work with teachers and their unions to create fair and reliable evaluations that reward teachers who are effective and identify and help those who need to improve. When that happens, we believe that districts will be on the cusp of providing every student with an effective teacher, in every class, every year.""