Fast Track

An Evidence-Based Practice


Fast Track is a comprehensive, long-term prevention program that aims to prevent chronic and severe conduct problems in high-risk children. The program targets children identified in kindergarten for disruptive behavior and poor peer relations. It is based on the view that antisocial behavior stems from the interaction of multiple influences such as school, home, and the individual. The developmental model guiding this project indicates that an effective prevention program would address classroom, school risk, and family risk factors, including communication between parents and schools.

Fast Track extends from 1st through 10th grade, with particularly intensive interventions during the transitions at school entry and from elementary to middle school. The primary intervention is designed for all youths in a school setting. The PATHS (for Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) curriculum was revised for use in the Fast Track program. In addition to this universal intervention, Fast Track includes an indicated intervention component for children considered high-risk. This includes parent groups, child social-skills training, academic tutoring, and home visits. The most intense phase of intervention took place in the first grade year for each of three successive cohorts. The program can be implemented in rural and urban areas for boys and girls of varying ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and family composition.

Goal / Mission

The main goals of this program are to increase communication and bonds between and among the three domains of school, home, and the individual; to enhance children's social, cognitive, and problem-solving skills; to improve peer relationships; and ultimately to decrease disruptive behavior at home and in school.

Results / Accomplishments

The evaluation used an experimental design with intervention and control groups. The initial findings, after participants completed the first grade, indicated that compared with control groups, participants have shown the following positive effects: better teacher and parent ratings of children's behavior with peers and adults; better overall ratings by observers on children's aggressive, disruptive, and oppositional behavior in the classroom; less parental endorsement of physical punishment for children's problem behaviors; more appropriate discipline techniques and greater warmth and involvement of mothers with their children; more maternal involvement in school activities. Lastly, children in Fast Track classrooms nominated fewer peers as being aggressive and reported greater liking and fewer disliking nominations of their classmates.

After 3 years in Fast Track, participants in the treatment group were significantly less likely than participants in the control group to exhibit evidence of serious conduct problems. Teachers reported lower rates of aggressive, disruptive, and disobedient behaviors for the treatment group children. Parents rated their children as having more positive behavior changes in the previous year than the control group's parents did theirs. Intervention parents also rated themselves as having improved their parenting behavior more than control parents; they used significantly less physical punishment. It was also found that children in the treatment group exhibited more social problem-solving skills and fewer hostile attributions about peer intentions than did the control group.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Mark T. Greenberg, Ph.D.
Human Development and Family Studies Tr-Madison
110 Henderson Building South
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802-6504
(814) 863-0112
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Education / School Environment
Pennsylvania State University
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience