BALTIMORE (AP) — State education officials in Maryland have raised the standards for English proficiency, meaning that hundreds of Baltimore-area non-native English speakers will have to repeat or take additional English courses in school.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the change, implemented in May, will help ensure that students are prepared in school. But officials also recognize that the new standard will mean more students remaining in English as a second language classes, and that it could create a bottleneck in the program.

The new standards are prompting school districts across the state to assign more teachers to accommodate growing ESOL classes. There are currently 68,000 such students.

In Baltimore County, 850 students would have moved out of ESOL under the old standard. Under the new standard, roughly half that number will advance.

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