Measurement Development: Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Although there are several measures in use to capture the global quality of an early childhood setting, few focus on child-adult interactions, especially in the earliest months of life. Mathematica developed a new measure to assess the quality of caregiver‐child interactions for infants and toddlers in nonparental care. The measure was appropriate for use across child care settings, including center‐based and family child care settings, as well as single- and mixed-age classrooms.

The Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers project included a technical work group of national experts with in-depth knowledge of research, policy, and practice related to infant and toddler development and care environments. In addition, a literature review provided a summary of existing measures of quality appropriate for use in nonparental care environments that serve infants and toddlers and evaluated the degree to which these measures measure quality features adequately. Drawing on recommendations from the literature review, the study team constructed a measurement framework and tested it during a pilot study. For the psychometric field test, conducted in 2012, team members observed more than 400 providers and conducted repeat visits to a subset of providers to establish test-retest reliability. To assess convergent validity, the team conducted a second observation using a validation measure with a subset of providers. Finally, a detailed sustainability plan ensures that the early childhood education field and potential users know about the measure and what is required to administer it as well as provide support for widespread and appropriate use.

Subcontractors included Child Trends, assisting with the literature review; FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, assisting with measure development and analysis tasks; and WestEd, assisting with the sustainability plan.