Families & Schools Together: An Experimental Analysis of a Parent-Mediated Early Intervention Program for At-Risk American Indian Children

Grant: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) Grant

Principal Investigators: Thomas R. Kratochwill, Holly Young-Bear Tibbitts, Lynn McDonald, Joel R. Levin

Prevention of School Failure/Dropout: Ratings of American Indian (three Nations), rural, children’s behavior attending FAST® vs. no-FAST control condition (N=100), randomizing matched pairs, yoked, indicated FAST reduced aggression, anxiety, and problem behaviors and increased academic competence after 8 weeks and maintained after one year (teacher ratings on SSRS and CBCL Ext.).

Researchers at Wisconsin Center for Education Research performed this randomized controlled trial using a sample of students from three American Indian Nations in rural Northern Wisconsin. The goal of the study was to test whether participation in the FAST program could better the academic performance while reducing the problematic behavior of American Indian children. Another aim of the study was to create and test the effectiveness of a FAST program adapted to suit the needs, norms, and values of the three participating tribes.

This school-based experiment had a sample size of 100 students, who were spread across three schools. These students were paired based on tribal heritage, school, grade level, gender, and teacher’s rating. Non-response for one student in the pair resulted in the whole pair being dropped.  Forty of the fifty families graduated from seven cycles of FAST over three years. Using multiple indicators of academic and behavioral performance, parents and teachers scored children in a pretest, post test, and follow up. There were also qualitative observations in the classroom to assess behavior and social interaction of students performed by an American Indian research staff.

Overall, this adaptation of FAST proved very successful. Teachers reported a statistically significant decrease in aggression, delinquency, and social conflict among students who had participated in FAST, as opposed to the students in the control group.  In addition, they perceived an increase in academic competence.  Furthermore, both teachers and FAST parents showed general satisfaction with the program.


FAST RCT UW-Madison WCER School of Education Article