Mathematica Makes Quality of Infant and Toddler Care Measure More Accessible with Virtual Trainings and Learning Materials

Mathematica Makes Quality of Infant and Toddler Care Measure More Accessible with Virtual Trainings and Learning Materials

Mar 01, 2023
Two toddlers with a caregiver

Measuring the quality of interactions in infant and toddler care settings has become increasingly important, particularly because caregivers other than their parents regularly care for half of all 1- to 3-year-olds in the United States. In addition, responsive caregiver-child interactions and warm relationships show the strongest evidence for positive effects on children’s development and learning.

To address this growing need, Mathematica and partners developed the Quality of Care for Infants and Toddlers (QCIT) to measure, understand, and improve responsive interactions between infants and toddlers and their caregivers. This measurement tool is based on years of developmental science, and it measures quality in center-based and home-based care settings. More than 160 organizations and hundreds of observers across the U.S. use the QCIT.

QCIT is unique because it is a single measure developed specifically for 0 to 3 age range, and it was not adapted from measures that were originally created to serve other age groups. This is important because infants and toddlers have unique needs that are served by close and nurturing relationships. Observers trained to use the QCIT measure how caregivers support the social and emotional, language and literacy, and cognitive development of infants and toddlers in addition to how caregivers support children’s emotional and physical health and safety.

QCIT training and certification testing can be completed virtually. These virtual training sessions are trainer led and interactive, allowing for full participation with trainers and peers. The digital QCIT user's guide and rating forms are also now available for purchase online.

“The QCIT is designed intentionally to get at complex social dynamics within the teacher and the child relationship.”

Sherri Castle, assistant director, ECEI, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa

Researchers have used the QCIT to conduct research on infant/toddler-caregiver interactions and to evaluate the efficacy of early childhood care and education programs for several years. Rigorous testing funded by the Administration for Children and Families in the form of a psychometric field test of 400 classrooms in 15 states found strong evidence of QCIT’s reliability and validity. More than 30 percent of children in these classrooms were dual language learners. For additional research about the QCIT and research that uses the QCIT, access our reference list of related publications.

Early childhood program administrators use the QCIT for program monitoring, decision making, and professional development to support caregivers and educators. Program administrators have found that the QCIT provides rich, actionable, and specific data, and that it enables observers to tune into individual interactions and experiences more than other tools.

“The QCIT gives you such a great view into what happens in a classroom as we go from each individual interaction, into building relationships, into building high quality classrooms and culture. I can't imagine another tool that does with the QCIT does.”

Chris Amirault, school director, Tulsa Educare III MacArthur, QCIT user


  • Is designed for both center-based and family child care settings
  • Is designed for use in classrooms with children from 0 to 36 months
  • Supports caregivers’ professional development and children’s social and emotional, language and literacy, and cognitive development
  • Supports observations in culturally diverse settings and for children at varying developmental stages with diverse abilities

Learn more about QCIT and access the QCIT store to register for trainings or purchase the QCIT user's guide at