For those unaware, the ARC at 2800 Maguire Blvd. is a completely different building from the ARC at 1701 Ash St. Although they share the same acronym, they offer completely different services. The ARC on Ash Street is Columbia’s Activity and Recreation Center, while Maguire Boulevard contains the University of Missouri’s Assessment Resource Center.
Once I made the connection that an associate research professor probably wouldn’t have her office at a public gym, I was able to meet Christi Bergin for an interview. When I told her about my initial confusion, she informed me that she usually refers to the location as the A-R-C and not ARC. She then joked that if her office were at the ARC, we could lift weights while I interviewed her.
After interviewing Bergin for my story on positive teacher-student relationships, she showed me around the Assessment Research Center. From the outside, the building is large and somewhat warehouse-like. On the inside, it houses researchers and staff who do research or provide assessment tools for clients.
The center provides research for anyone who may want to contract with them, Bergin said. Testing services are offered at the kindergarten through college level. The center has been around for more than 70 years; it has a full-time staff of 30 and 80-100 staff who score open-ended assessments, such as essay tests, their Web site states. Outside contractors also assist with special projects, it said.
One particular project the center does is grade the evaluations that MU students fill out at the end of each semester. The machines at the ARC can grade up to 30,000 tests each hour, Bergin said.
My interview with Bergin not only allowed me to learn about her research, but an educational resource run by the university I attend.