Does team-based variable pay work?
In May 2001, the Iowa legislature enacted the Teacher Quality Act (Senate File 476) to improve the quality of teaching and instruction in Iowa. The primary objective of this landmark piece of legislation was to improve student achievement (Iowa General Assembly, 2001). A key piece of Senate File 476 was Team-Based Variable Pay (TBVP), Iowa's version of a School-Based Performance Award (SBPA). This pilot project was intended to reward teams of teachers from individual schools for improved student achievement in their respective schools;A significant amount of research has been conducted regarding alternative teacher pay structures, including those focused on recognizing and rewarding teachers for increased student achievement. Most of those plans described in the literature have been mandatory programs. Conversely, in Iowa, TBVP has been a voluntary program;Iowa Testing Program data were compared for students from TBVP schools and Non-TBVP schools (schools that applied to participate in TBVP without selection) to determine any differences in gains in reading and mathematics achievement. This study indicates that there were no significant differences between the gains in achievement between TBVP and Non-TBVP schools;Goal rigor (as determined by the TBVP application) was examined to determine its relationship to increases in reading and mathematics for TBVP and Non-TBVP schools. The results of this study indicate that goal rigor is positively and significantly related to increases in reading in both TBVP and Non-TBVP schools. Goal rigor was also found to be positively (and almost significantly) related to increases in mathematics for both comparison groups; however, the correlation was not considered to be significant (.057);This study informs the literature on the effectiveness of TBVP to increase student achievement, particularly in Iowa schools. Another way in which this study will contribute to the literature is with regard to the impact of goal rigor in increased student achievement. It also contributes to the literature related to alternative teacher pay structures, particularly as it relates to School-Based Performance Awards (SBPA).