The study was conducted in four locations: (a) Durham, North Carolina, a small city with a predominantly
African-American school population; (b) Nashville, Tennessee, a moderate-sized city
with a predominantly African-American and European-American school population; (c) Seattle,
Washington, a moderate-sized city with an ethnically-diverse school population; and (d) central
Pennsylvania, a rural area with a predominantly European-American school population.
Selection of the school sample. The sample included 54 schools in high-risk neighborhoods;
high-risk status was based on the crime and poverty statistics of neighborhoods. Within each
site, schools were matched into paired sets based on demographics (school size, percentage
of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch, ethnic composition, and student achievement
scores); the schools within each matched pair were then randomly assigned to either the
intervention or comparison condition.
Selection of the student sample. The analytic student sample in these schools was identified
through a multi-stage screening process based on teacher and parent behavioral ratings. In
the spring of the students’ kindergarten school year, the aggressive and oppositional behaviors
of all kindergarteners in the 54 participating schools were rated using the TOCA-R, Authority
Acceptance Scale, Teacher Rating. The parents of children who scored in the top 40% of
each site were contacted by the researchers to rate their children’s behavior using a 24-item
instrument, including items drawn from the Child Behavior Checklist and the Revised Problem
Behavior Checklist. The teacher and parent scores were averaged to compute a behavioral
score. Students whose average scores were in the top 10% of their site were asked to participate
in the study. This process was used to recruit three successive cohorts of high-risk
students at the end of their kindergarten year, starting in 1991. The analytic student sample
included 445 students in 191 intervention classrooms and 446 students in 210 comparison
Characteristics of the student sample. The mean age of the student sample during the first
year of the study was 6.5 years. Fifty-one percent of the sample were African American, 47%
were European American, and 2% were another ethnicity. Boys represented 69% of the student
Program delivery in grades 1–5. During grades 1–5, the multi-component intervention
included: (a) a classroom-based curriculum, (b) small-group enrichment, (c) home visits and
telephone contact with parents, and (d) school-based student tutoring.
Program delivery in grades 6–10. During grades 6–10, the components of the intervention
included: (a) the middle school transition program, (b) parent and youth groups, (c) youth
forums, and (d) individualized support.
The students in the comparison classrooms received their regular curriculum. There was no effort
to encourage or discourage comparison classrooms or schools from implementing other prevention
programs. The authors do not provide any information on whether, or what, other prevention
programs may have been implemented in comparison classrooms/schools.
This study included measures of aggression, authority acceptance, oppositional behavior, emotion
recognition, social skills, and reading achievement after 1 year of implementation, and after
3–9 years of implementation. The study also included measures of arrests and other offenses
2 years after the 10-year intervention program ended. For a more detailed description of these
outcome measures, see Appendix B.1. Because the most intense phase of the intervention occurs in the first year of implementation, the intervention ratings in this report are based on the impacts of Fast Track after 1 year of implementation (Appendices C.1–C.4). Additional references that examined the effect of the intervention after 3 years of implementation (Appendices D.1, D.2a, D.2c, D.2d, D.3), 4 years of implementation (Appendices D.2a, D.3, D.4a), 5 years of implementation (Appendices D.2a, D.3, D.4a), 6 years of implementation (Appendices D.2a, D.2c, D.2d, D.3), 7 years of implementation (Appendices D.2a, D.3), 8 years of implementation (Appendices D.2a, D.3), 9 years of implementation (Appendices D.2c, D.2d), and 2 years after the 10-year implementation ended (Appendices D.2b, D.2c, D.2d, D.4b) are also presented. Detailed descriptions of outcome measures used to measure the impacts of Fast Track after 1 year of implementation are provided in Appendix B.1. Descriptions of measures used for the supplemental findings are provided in Appendix B.2.
Support for implementation
The Fast Track EC and FC staff attended a 3-day workshop, observed training videos, and received
instructional manuals. Intervention staff also participated in weekly meetings with program developers where they discussed the goals and activities of upcoming sessions, talked about the receptivity of children and parents to activities, were observed by the clinical supervisor and co-principal investigators, and were given feedback on adherence to the program. Teachers at intervention schools attended a 2.5-day training workshop. Fast Track staff also spent, on average, 1.5 hours each week in each teachers’ classroom conducting observations, modeling lessons, and team teaching. Weekly meetings were held with the intervention teachers to provide coaching and feedback on their delivery of the curriculum and classroom management and behavior issues.