Greenlee Language Primer (PIE)

Revision to Greenlee School’s Poynter Institute Exam requirement


December 14, 2020

Effective immediately, the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication no longer requires students to pass the Poynter Institute Exam (PIE) as a prerequisite for JL MC 201: Reporting and Writing for the Mass Media. While students no longer need to pass an exam to enroll in Greenlee’s foundational writing course, the School remains committed to high standards of grammar and usage and will be incorporating additional language-proficiency lessons and refreshers within its curriculum.


What if I took the PIE and did not pass?

You may now enroll in JL MC 201 for the spring 2021 semester.  If you have questions about how this impacts your spring 2021 schedule, please contact your academic adviser.

What should I do if I took the PIE in fall 2020 and passed?

If you took the PIE in fall 2020 and passed, no action is needed.

Can I get a refund for the PIE test?

No. While we recognize preparing for and taking the PIE was an investment of time and money, we believe any effort spent studying and practicing grammar and usage remains beneficial.

Even if I never attempted to take the PIE, can I now enroll in JL MC 201 for the spring 2021 semester?

Yes, if you meet the remaining prerequisites for the course. You still must be a Greenlee major or have departmental permission to enroll in JL MC 201. You also must have taken ENGL 250 and have credit for, or concurrent enrollment in, JL MC 110.

Why is the Greenlee School removing this requirement at this time?

We recently received word that Poynter, the exam’s external administrator, will no longer offer assessments through its university partnership program. This announcement accelerated an ongoing discussion about the best way to prepare students for the writing expectations required of majors in advertising, journalism and mass communication, and public relations. In place of this external test, the Greenlee School will expand language education throughout the curriculum to ensure our students continue to be prepared to succeed in their future careers.

If you have questions related to this update, please contact