NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3, 2008

FOREWORD

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NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: CHALLENGES IN APPLIED RESEARCH

his issue begins our 21st Year Anniversary of publishing the NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL. The journal was founded in the interest of publishing the best original articles by educational researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians on a variety of viewpoints for persons interested in teacher education. Professors, theoreticians, educational researchers, practitioners, directors of research and service, deans, chairpersons, university administrators, curriculum and instruction specialists, school superintendents, principals, supervisors, classroom teachers, management consultants, facilitators, school board members, education policy persons, graduate students, community leaders, and many others represent the cosmopolitan readership of the NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL. A function of the NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL is to strengthen the established common bond among professors in higher education and practitioners in schools. The NATIONAL FORUM OF APPLIED EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL seeks to help maintain a healthy mutual respect and awareness of the roles, the problems, and the progress of teacher education in all appropriate settings. NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS are highly regarded both nationally and internationally. The NATIONAL FORUM SOCIETY OF EDUCATORS helps the family of NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS. Members' names are published in each issue throughout the year. Becoming a member of the NATIONAL FORUM SOCIETY OF EDUCATORS says you place value on financially supporting scholarly productivity in education.

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About this Issue
Educational research and implementation of proven best practices in schools across this great nation are essential to strive toward a more accountable system of education for young people. Continued emphasis along with the unfunded mandates of No Child Left Behind make a strong case for quality applied research in high performing urban, suburban and rural schools. University research should target and foster the implementation of research based best practices that contribute to a more accountable education system that prepares children for the future demands
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of a high performance workforce with the purpose of building a stronger national and global economy. Topics continue to emerge related to accountability at the university and public school levels that create a profound need for research with immediate sound practical applications. Articles in this issue address a selected set of topics on the forefront in education research settings at the public school as well as the higher education level. In this issue you will find seven articles that address some of the key issues currently facing educators in the field. The lead article by Jianjun Wu and Yixin Zhang provides cross-cultural perspectives of Internet attitudes between American and Chinese college students. Results of the study indicate that American students had more positive attitudes towards the Internet than Chinese students, and female students had more positive attitudes towards the Internet than male students. In the second article, John Closen presents research that supports the proposal for an ideal setting to provide for academic achievement would be for students to attend schools in a K-8 and 9-12 setting. By keeping schools in neighborhoods, small in size, and diverse, an increase in the chances for poor and minority students to experience success should encourage more parental support and more parental involvement in the schools. In the subsequent article, Randy L. Seevers and Michelle Jones-Blank present a study that explores the effects of social skills training on social skill development and on student behavior. It was hypothesized that using instructional strategies for teaching social skills would help students initiate and develop positive social relationships with others, cope effectively with the behavioral demands and expectations of specific settings, and appropriately communicate and assert one’s needs, desires, and preferences. Next, Kimberly McLeod, Tyrone Tanner and William Allan Kritsonis present a study that discusses teacher perceptions of culture based on responses collected at an in-service diversity training session. In addition, the authors introduce the concept of “culturally active” classrooms and how practitioners take into account the cultural perceptions of the educator, the cultural perceptions or misconceptions of students towards their own racial identity and the racial identity of others. In the fifth article, Alex Torrez and William Allan Kritsonis present an article related to three crucial pre-implementation principles that maximize the success of Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) in large high schools. Establishing clear understanding for the need of the SLC initiative is the first of these

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principles. Long term commitment to a sustained plan for relevant SLC professional learning opportunities will guarantee proper training, skills, and knowledge for those working within the SLC schools. The sixth article by Lloyd C. Kilmer and Georgianna L. Koenig presents research on jobembedded professional development for principals. The professional development academy blended a variety of delivery systems, large group presentations and job-embedded activities, to best meet the needs of the participants. Program participants learned a large body of new research on leadership and also developed the steps that they could take to improve their organizations. Adam Ivy, David Herrington and William Allan Kritsonis submitted the final article that provides an overview of Professional Learning Communities, detailing the challenges of setting in motion the tasks and mindset necessary to create them. The rationale is that the culture changes from one of superficial assessments and requirements to one that emphasizes student learning. I wish to thank all the writers who have contributed to this issue of the NATIONAL FORUM AERJ. A special note of gratitude goes to all the members of our distinguished National Editorial Board for their many long hours spent refereeing manuscripts. Finally, I would like to personally thank William Allan Kritsonis for providing this publishing and editorial opportunity as we further advance in our quest for excellence in education. To our readers, colleagues and friends nationally as well as internationally, thank you for your continued personal, professional and financial sincerity.

Robert L. Marshall EdD
National Forum of Applied Education Research Journal Senior National Editor

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