I am writing my Common Application essay for the college admissions process starting this fall and I’m having trouble writing this sentence, especially the bolded part, in a way that is proper and concise but retains the meaning that it has right now:
"Drawing and counting circles was the only method that Drake, a 6th grader whose teachers described him as mathematically at a 3rd-grade level, responded to, but I couldn’t outright blame our difficulties on my student’s learning deficiencies."
Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated.
You may be trying to pack too much background information into one sentence. I suggest splitting it into two sentences–the first to identify Drake as your student with learning deficiencies, and the second to state your conclusion:
Drake, a 6th grader, had been evaluated by previous teachers to be at a 3rd-grade level mathematically. Drawing and counting circles was the only method to which he responded, but I couldn’t outright blame our difficulties on his learning deficiencies.