The DISCOVER Projects are built upon numerous forms of diversity (including cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and age) as well as different intelligences, philosophies of teaching, and methods of learning. The problem solving strategies that form the checklist used with the DISCOVER Assessment, for example, were derived from observing various cultures and languages, with both young and old participants, and with individuals possessing a wide variety of backgrounds and skills. Likewise, the DISCOVER curriculum models incorporate materials and methods appropriate to the populations being served.
As a result, the Assessment and Curriculum models are adaptable and are designed to be accurate for a broad spectrum of groups, even when that “broad spectrum” exists within a single school or classroom. Schools around the world are struggling with the fact that there simply is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy for teaching. Educators need methods that are effective with students from a wide range of backgrounds, language skills, and learning abilities. The DISCOVER Projects were created specifically for this purpose.
The goal of using DISCOVER methods is to find the innate abilities of each child (or adult), regardless of potentially diverse external factors, and to develop these abilities in appropriate ways. This does not mean a lowering of standards; it does perhaps mean arriving at the standards in different ways, by taking into consideration issues of diversity and helping each individual achieve success by using his or her strengths.
The implementation of DISCOVER in a school setting tends to level the playing field for “at risk” children and those from diverse cultural backgrounds—again not by changing or lowering standards, but by assessment and teaching methodologies that are more accurate and flexible. Before DISCOVER is brought in, we find frequently that schools with mixed ethnic populations tend to have an inordinately high percentage of Caucasian students in programs for the gifted; these same schools often have a disproportionately high number of culturally and linguistically diverse students placed in programs for special needs children. After DISCOVER is implemented, the percentages tend to change until they more closely reflect actual school demographics. There is no quota or predefined strategy to achieve these results. It simply happens. School districts needing to address issues of civil rights have found DISCOVER to be an effective partner.