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International Baccalaureate

Our program offers a challenging and comprehensive curriculum that promotes critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and global awareness in students.

EXPLORE Academics

Preparing Global Thinkers

Portledge School is proud to be the only private school on Long Island to offer the prestigious IB Diploma Programme. The IB pedagogy inspires exemplary teaching and meaningful learning that aligns with Portledge’s mission of instilling our students an authentic lifelong love of learning. 

Critical thinking and communication, skills that are highly valued by both colleges and future employers, are at the core of the IB Diploma Programme. The desired outcome of the program is to “inspire students to ask questions, pursue personal aspirations, set challenging goals, and develop the persistence to achieve those goals.” Reflecting on these principles of intellectual curiosity and strong character, it is worth noting that a high percentage of our Cum Laude inductees are participants in the Diploma Programme!

Colleges and universities are increasingly finding that those students who participate in the full Diploma Programme are best prepared for college-level work. Recent graduates have enrolled in a diverse selection of colleges and universities including, but not limited to Brown University, Spellman, UT-Austin, Vassar, Richmond, Yale University, University of Virginia, Duke University, Boston College, and NYU just to name a few.

Since our first exam cohort in 2018 of five students, we have consistently grown not only in numbers but in course offerings, course candidacy, and faculty training. As we enter the 2023-24 school year, we will have 23 seniors graduate as Diploma Candidates and a significant percentage of juniors and seniors enrolled in at least one IB course. We look forward to another successful year in the IB program.

Trish Rigg
IB Coordinator

How Do Colleges View the IB Diploma?

Alumni of the IB Diploma Programme report that their involvement with IB has given them the tools needed for success in college. In particular, students comment on their sense of preparedness, self-confidence, research skills, and time management. Colleges recognize these characteristics in applicants who are diploma candidates. The IB Diploma Programme is internationally recognized as representing one of the highest standards in university preparatory education. More than 1,000 colleges and universities from around the world have shown how they value IB credentials by building special pathways for IB students,  granting credit or advanced standing for performance on IB exams, or even providing scholarships for IB students.

The effectiveness of an IB education

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Through strong and growing research, it has been found that:

    • Diploma students tend to complete their undergraduate degrees at higher rates than their peers, and often in less time.
    • IB students tend to make more contributions to campus life by participating in activities such as community service, tutoring, assisting faculty with their research, studying abroad, internships, and joining clubs and other student groups.
    • IB assessments have been proven as strong predictors of university performance.
  • Research also suggests that IB Diploma students demonstrate the following skills:

    • Interest and experience in research
    • Time management and organization
    • Critical thinking, inquiry, and problem-solving
    • Strong language and writing
    • International awareness and a sense of community responsibility.
  • What About Individual Course Certificates?

    Standalone IB courses, “course certificates,” are typically seen by admissions counselors as similar to AP courses -- that is, they reflect a student’s desire to take a rigorous and challenging course. But because of the variety of courses offered, how colleges view them partially depends on the course in question.


List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • What are IB Courses?

    IB courses are upper-level classes designed to prepare students for success in college. IB courses emphasize the learning process: students learn to set goals and reflect on their progress toward them. IB emphasizes the value of education in the modern world: students are encouraged to consider global perspectives and the relevance of class material to the world we live in. In each IB course, there are between two and three official IB assessments. Depending on the class, these can include formal examinations, oral presentations, group projects, research papers, or the submission of a portfolio of work.
  • What is the IB Diploma Programme?

    In addition to the Portledge diploma that all graduates earn, some students will earn the internationally recognized IB Diploma. The Diploma Programme is a complete course of study. Over the course of two years, a Diploma candidate will take 6 IB courses (one in each of the traditional subject areas of English, Language, History, Math, Science, and the Arts). Candidates choose at least 3, but no more than 4 courses to study at the higher level (HL) and two to three at the standard level (SL). Students also complete a set of “core” requirements: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay (EE). In addition to completing these requirements, a student must earn 24 out of a possible 45 points on the final assessments to earn an official IB Diploma.
  • What is the IB Core?

    The IB Core is comprised of the following three components (TOK, CAS, EE) which all Diploma Students complete over two semesters. Year 1 students will take IB Core 1 in the fall semester and all seniors will sit for IB Core Year 2 in the fall semester of their senior year. These courses are in part designed to support students with both the TOK and Extended Essays that are externally graded by the IB.
  • What is TOK?

    TOK, which stands for Theory of Knowledge, is a requirement for Diploma candidates, It is an interdisciplinary class designed to help students question and understand how they know what they know. Students ask questions such as “What makes a method scientific?” “Is historical knowledge scientific?” or “How is reason different than faith?” The culminating assessments consist of an exhibition in year 1 and an essay response to a prompt published by the IB in year 2.
  • What is CAS?

    CAS stands for Creativity, Activity, Service. To complete their CAS requirement, students must complete service opportunities, creative projects, and be physically active. Over their two years in the program, Diploma candidates must set goals and record their progress towards a set of “Learning Outcomes.” All DP candidates also complete a CAS project, which they plan, complete, and reflect upon. These projects can be used in lieu of the required Senior Projects but must be presented at the end of their senior year.
  • What is EE?

    The EE, which stands for Extended Essay, is a requirement for Diploma candidates. DP candidates work with an advisor to create a research question and complete an independent research paper in an area of personal interest, one that connects to a topic sanctioned by the IB. The final product is a paper of approximately 4,000 words.
  • IB Exam Fee Information

    The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is our most rigorous curriculum offering. IB Diploma Candidates must sit for and/or submit portfolios for six subjects as well as the IB Core: Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Sevice).
    IB Course Candidates are expected to complete course requirements, including the IB Internal Assessments (graded by the teacher), and maintain alignment with the IB course of study. Course Candidates are not mandated to sit for the IB exam but encouraged to do so, especially if pursuing HL-level content, and would like the opportunity to earn college credit.
    An exam fee of $119/subject is billed to the accounts of students sitting for IB exams. In addition, full Diploma Candidates will also be billed for the Core subjects of TOK, EE, and CAS, totaling $147.00
    Full Diploma Candidates can anticipate a total of $861.00 in exam fees over the two years of the program.
    Exams take place at the end of the course, usually two years in length; however, some may be assessed after one year. Billing occurs in the year the exam is taken. Payment plans are available, and such inquiries should be directed to our business office.
    For any questions regarding the IB, please contact Trish Rigg, IB Coordinator.
  • What Kind of Student is a Good Candidate for the Diploma?

    Ideal Diploma candidates are organized and hardworking students with strong time management skills who have achieved academic success in their courses to date. In addition to valuing the learning process, we hope to find students who are open-minded and curious, and who self-identify as thinkers.
    Specific prerequisites for IB courses include the following: A minimum B average in advanced classes, and B+ or higher in regular section courses.
    All students must enter the IB program having completed Algebra II. Completion of Algebra IIA is required for those students seeking to enroll in IB Physics as well as IB Approaches and Analysis. 
    Successful completion of Level III language in either Mandarin, Spanish, or French. Students who may have not had the ability to complete a course of study in a world language can apply to take ab intio IB French SL (this is for students who have had less than one year of French instruction).
  • Can a Student Take Just One IB Course?

    Yes. A student who takes one or more IB courses but does not partake in the IB Core is considered a “course” candidate. This is in contrast to a Diploma Candidate, who takes 6 courses and completes the core, as outlined above.
  • How Does IB Compare With AP?

    The fundamental difference between IB and AP is based on a philosophical difference. The IB aims to provide college-level courses that demonstrate continuity over two years with greater depth and breadth. The AP aims to provide students with a survey of college-level material within one year. Each program assesses students; however, the IB provides multiple styles of assessments over the two years while the AP has one high-stakes exam taken at the end of the course. The IB goes a step further in that candidates can pursue the Diploma Programme, which is outlined under “What is the IB Diploma Program?” which is the most rigorous program we offer.
  • How Does the IB Impact Teaching Practices at Portledge?

    As more Portledge IB teachers undergo routine training from certified and experienced IB educators, the IB philosophy influences the way the material is taught at all levels of the Portledge Upper School. The ensuing emphasis on student reflection and teacher collaboration has led to students thinking deeply about themselves and the material they study and provided greater exposure to current pedagogical trends for all Portledge teachers.
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List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Trish Rigg

    Trish Rigg 

    Portledge School
    Coordinator International Baccalaureate Programme
    (516) 750-3164

IB Courses

  • English Literature SL/HL
  • History SL/HL
  • Spanish SL/HL 
  • French SL/HL
  • Mandarin SL/HL
  • Applications & Interpretations SL/HL
  • Approaches & Analysis SL/HL
  • Physics SL/HL 
  • Biology SL/HL
  • Environmental Systems & Societies SL 
  • Digital Society SL
  • Economics SL
  • Visual Arts SL/HL 
  • Film SL
  • Music SL/HL 
  • Theater SL/HL 
  • IB Core (Diploma Candidates only)

From IB Students

School hours

6th - 12th Grade: 
8:20 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
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