Research Studies & Papers

What sets FAST® apart from other programs is its demonstrated effectiveness. This section contains selected published research studies and papers written by FAST Founder Dr. Lynn McDonald, and fellow peer investigators. These studies highlight the effectiveness of FAST in urban and rural schools and communities with diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Additionally, FAST has also been involved in past research projects, including Investing in Innovation (i3) and Kansas Reading Roadmap.

Families and Schools Together: An experimental analysis of a parent-mediated multi-family group program for American Indian children.


The goals of this randomized intervention study were to: (a) increase academic performance among American Indian children ages 4-9 years and (b) reduce classroom problem behaviors. To achieve these goals, the multi-family group program called Families and Schools Together (FAST)

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UNODC Global Family Skills Initiative: Outcome evaluation in Central Asia of Families and Schools Together (FAST) multi-family groups


Lynn McDonald, Professor of Social Work Research, Middlesex University, UK Taghi Doostgharin, Freelance Consultant on Research and Evaluation and International FAST Trainer/Supervisor Abstract: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Family Skills Initiative reviewed hundreds, and then recommended

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Reducing Children’s Behavior Problems through Social Capital: A Causal Assessment


Using data from a cluster randomized trial of 52 elementary schools, this study attempts to construct a more focused conceptualization of social capital and aims to determine the causal effects of social capital on children’s behavior.

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A social ecological, relationship-based strategy for parent involvement: FAST (Families and Schools Together)


This study uses data from a randomized control trial of 52 urban schools in order to look at the effectiveness of FAST® at increasing parental engagement in schools. Findings suggest that FAST helped to increase parent involvement in their child’s school.

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Bayesian Causal Mediation Analysis for Group Randomized Designs with Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Effects: Simulation and Case Study


“Bayesian Causal Mediation Analysis”
This paper builds on a prior study where FAST® was implemented following a group-randomized design measuring parent social capital both before and after the treatment period. The prior study found evidence that FAST has a significant effect on reducing student peer problems.

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The emergence of social capital in low-income Latino elementary schools


In this study, we explore mechanisms of social capital emergence in predominantly low-income Latino school communities. We draw data from an experimental study that manipulated social capital through an after-school family engagement program.

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Reducing School Mobility: A randomized trial of a relationship building intervention


A cluster-randomized field experiment in 52 predominantly Hispanic elementary schools in San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, tested whether student mobility in early elementary school was reduced through Families and Schools Together (FAST), an intervention that builds social capital among families, children, and schools.

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Difference between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Families in Social Capital and Child Development


Disadvantages faced by Hispanic children in the U.S., compared to non-Hispanic Whites, have been widely reported. Economic differences account for some of the gaps, but the social isolation of Hispanic families also serves as a barrier to children’s success. Whereas Hispanic families tend to have strong kinship networks, their social ties often do not encompass the school and other authority systems.

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