Professional Development Tools for Improving Quality of Infant and Toddler Care (Q-CCIIT PD Tools)

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Mathematica has done extensive work assessing the quality of caregiver-child interactions, including the development of a reliable and valid observational measure for quality of care provided to infants and toddlers (Q-CCIIT) in nonparental care.

In 2015, ACF funded Mathematica and its partners to conduct the Professional Development Tools to Improve the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care (Q-CCIIT PD Tools) project. This project supports ACF’s vision for helping ECE programs and staff deliver quality services that promote positive outcomes for young children. This project seeks to build on the Q-CCIIT measure (Atkins Burnett et al. 2014) by developing professional development (PD) materials and resources to improve the quality of caregiving in early childhood settings serving infants and toddlers. We Grow Together: The Q-CCIIT Professional Development System aims to help infant-toddler caregivers understand how caregiver-child interaction supports development. We Grow Together provides training, strategies, and materials to help local PD providers scaffold the implementation of high quality practices by infant and toddler caregivers.

We Grow Together resources are designed to reinforce the importance of caregiver practices with infants and toddlers that are demonstrated by high quality indicators on individual Q-CCIIT measure items. As such, an observation with the Q-CCIIT measure is the starting point for the PD process. Data from the Q-CCIIT observations become the foundation of each individual caregiver’s PD tools content by providing a profile of strengths and goal areas for growth in the caregiver’s practices. The team developed an array of PD tools based on constructs and competencies in the Q-CCIIT measure, organized into modules and delivered on a website.

The field test of We Grow Together (fall 2018-spring 2019) will examine whether the Q-CCIIT instrument and related PD resources can be used effectively by early childhood professionals to support improvement in caregivers’ interactions with infants and toddlers. We will collect the following: implementation data; web user tracking data from the website; web surveys of caregivers, PD providers and family child care (FCC) providers; paper-and-pencil classroom rosters; and classroom observations using the Q-CCIIT observation tool in selected classrooms and FCC settings.

The field test will take place in approximately 9 geographical areas across the country. In this field test, we will include centers and FCC settings that already have local PD providers. The field test will include a purposive sample of 175 center-based classrooms, split evenly between Early Head Start and community-based centers. The field test sample will also include 125 FCCs.

Partners include ZERO TO THREE, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, and consultants Margaret Burchinal, Martha Zaslow, and Jay Buzhardt.