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Initiative Name: 

Evaluation of Tennessee’s Infant and Toddler Credential Pilot Finds Positive Outcomes




Professional Development, Professional Development

Source Of Information: 

ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates




In an effort to learn whether the state’s proposed Infant and Toddler Credential has a positive impact on providers’ practices and quality of care, Tennessee conducted an evaluation of the one-year pilot. The pre-post design external evaluation yielded positive findings on all key outcome measures. Global environment quality scores (measured using the ITERS-R and FDCRS) had significantly increased by the completion of the pilot, and participating providers were more sensitive and less harsh and detached when interacting with children. Providers’ belief in their ability to make positive changes also increased, as well as their ratings of their relationships with parents. Tennessee is the first state to conduct such an evaluation of an infant-toddler credential program. The findings suggest that the activities in the pilot project will produce positive changes in the overall quality of child care programs.

Tennessee’s Infant and Toddler Credential recognizes the importance of well-trained infant and toddler caregivers in providing the highest quality care environments for Tennessee’s children. The objective is to increase caregivers’ knowledge of: child development theory and practice; relationship-based models of care; the importance of quality interactions to infant mental health; individual curriculum design; and the role of family and community in quality infant and toddler care. The credential has four levels, with each building on the previous tier. Requirements can be met through academic college coursework, community-based training, and portfolio development. Participants are also entitled to one-on-one coaching from an Infant-Toddler Specialist.

In addition to the positive outcome data, the pilot evaluation found that providers, administrators, and coaches were satisfied with the program. Coaching, training, academic coordination, and materials were all rated very favorably by the participants, and 98% of providers said they would recommend the program to a peer or colleague. Information gathered through the evaluation will be used in planning for statewide implementation. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, Tennessee will not be able to implement the Infant and Toddler Credential statewide at this time.

To learn more about Tennessee’s Infant and Toddler Credential Pilot Program visit the Tennessee Department of Human Services website A copy of the evaluation report can be downloaded at


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