International Baccalaureate

Portage Northern High School is proud to be among the U.S. high schools authorized to offer the highly respected International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.  This challenging two-year curriculum for juniors and seniors emphasizes globalism and fosters interdisciplinary learning.  Working with instructors trained and monitored by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), IB students undertake university-level course work that places them advantageously for success in post-secondary study.  Many colleges and universities recognize the efforts and achievements of IB students and may award successful candidates college credit, waivers, or other benefits.  

The Diploma Program is based on the best educational practices of countries around the world.  The curriculum is divided into six required areas of study:

  • Group 1:  Literature
  • Group 2:  Foreign Language (Level IV or V)
  • Group 3:  Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4:  Experimental Sciences
  • Group 5:  Mathematics
  • Group 6:  Fine Arts (or, if the student prefers, a second course from groups 2, 3, or 4)

All Diploma candidates must complete at least three Higher Level (HL, or two-year) courses and three Standard-Level (SL, usually one-year) courses during the junior and senior years.  In addition to the IB course work, IB Diploma candidates complete three additional components of the program:

  • Theory of Knowledge: a two-year blended, interdisciplinary course for grades 11-12 that examines how we understand various forms of knowledge from mathematical, historical, logical, linguistic, philosophical, aesthetic, and scientific perspectives 
  • Extended Essay: Candidates research a topic of their choice within one of the six IB subject groups and then present the results of their investigation in a 4000-word essay. 
  • Creativity, Action, Service (CAS): Successful IB students are active not only in the classroom, but in the community as well.  Students develop a creative project, take part in an extracurricular activity, and become involved in community-service projects.  Through CAS, students can share their special talents while developing awareness, concern, and the ability to work cooperatively.

IB exams are given in May of each year, and scores are based on both internal assessments (evaluated by the classroom teacher) and external assessments (graded by IB examiners around the world).  Students who do not wish to pursue the full IB Diploma may enroll for the IB courses of their choice and, if successful, can earn IB Certificates in those subjects.

Additional Information Regarding the IB Program

PNHS IB Basics

The IB Learner Profile

IBO.org 'Information for Parents'

IB Diploma Graduate Survey 2011

May 2016 IB Statistical Bulletin

"The IB at Portage Northern" - numbers for the past five school years

Facts and Figures:  Around the World

Presentation: First Year University Experience of IB Graduates

Key Findings & Research - Impact of an IB Education

Value of an IB Education


For further information about Northern's IB Program, please contact Rick Searing, IB Coordinator at (269) 323-5474.

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