Class sizes have inched up at Naperville North


Photo by Claire Tanza

Although the average class size at Naperville North High School has grown moderately this semester due to fewer class sections, classes aren’t large enough to warrant concern from administration.

According to NNHS Assistant Principal of Operations Jay Wachtel, last year’s average class size was 23.45, versus the 2022-23 average of 23.89. Wachtel attributes this to a decrease in class sections.

“The number of sections is entirely based on the number of classes that students sign up for. So when enrollment drops—and it’s been steadily dropping—absolutely, we’re going to see a decrease in the number of sections we have,” Wachtel said.

Naperville North’s enrollment this school year is 2,557 students, whereas in 2014-15 it was 2,953 and in 2015-16 it was 2,791. Wachtel also noted that amid the decrease in enrollment, North has kept classes at around an average of 24 students per class– the same as the average class size as the 2017-18 school year. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average class size in public high schools for teachers in departmentalized instruction was 23.3 students in 2017-18, highlighting North’s proximity to the national average. 

Aasha Trivedi, a sophomore at Naperville North, says that while there are benefits of larger classes, she prefers to learn in smaller groups. 

“I think a positive of having a bigger class is having more brains to pick, so you get a lot of different perspectives. But it’s a lot more chaotic and loud, which is not a good learning environment for me. For a bunch of people, I think more calm environments are better,” Trivedi said.

Trivedi also says that she feels the size of her Honors Biology class makes it harder for her to learn. 

Wachtel noted that Honors Biology has seen one of the more dramatic increases in average class size, going from 17 students last year to 28.5 students this year. While this increase may seem dramatic for a science class, there isn’t enough conclusive data that shows smaller groups learn more efficiently. North administration says that when deciding on how many sections to give a course, they try to advocate for smaller classes as they typically improve student and teacher experience. 

Junior at Naperville North Molly Sincaglia thinks the increase in her class sizes doesn’t seem to noticeably affect her learning.

“My classes do seem bigger this year, but I’m usually indifferent about having more people in a class until I’m struggling in it. When that happens, it’s difficult to get one-on-one attention which creates more work at home, and it takes a while for teachers to answer questions,” Sincaglia said.

Although class sizes are rising in most departments, courses in Business Tech, Language Arts and Drivers Education have seen decreases in class sizes, according to Wachtel. 

For many, however, this year’s class sizes aren’t as enjoyable as the smaller classes seen last year. NNHS junior Nichole Zhou states that while students may not be satisfied with class sizes this year, they’ll likely have to adapt to them.

“I prefer being in smaller classes, but this year’s sizes are just something we have to adjust to because it’s out of student control,” Zhou said.