Leslie Dietiker

Assistant Professor

Dr. Leslie Dietiker is an assistant professor of Mathematics Education and teaches courses in mathematics and pedagogy to future high school mathematics teachers as well as research and theories in mathematics curriculum to masters and doctoral students. She is an elected board member of the International Society of the Design and Development of Education (ISDDE) and is on the Editorial Board of the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ), a leading publication of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Dietiker also designs and leads professional development for schools and districts in the Boston region.

Prior to coming to BU, Dr. Dietiker taught high school mathematics and computer science at a public high school in San Francisco, California, for 17 years. She also has received National Board Certification. She also is a lead author of seven mathematics textbooks for grades 6–12 with the nonprofit CPM Educational Program. These include Core Connections Algebra and Calculus.


  • Elected member of the International Society for the Design and Development of Education (ISDDE)
  • Member of the Board of Directors of CPM Educational Program.

Ph.D. in Mathematics Education, Michigan State University

B.S. in Mathematics, California State University, San Luis Obispo

SED ME 559: Mathematics for Teachers: Geometry

SED ME 547: Methods of Teaching Mathematics: High School

Dr. Dietiker’s research focuses on the theory of curriculum, particularly with regards to its aesthetics and structural dimensions. Other areas of research interest include studying and supporting teacher curricular work, such as investigating and theorizing how teachers use textual materials and plan lessons. One study, entitled Characteristics of Interesting Mathematics Lessons (funded by the William T. Grant Foundation), focused on learning how the mathematical plots of algebra lessons that students indicate are interesting differ from those that are not characterized as interesting by students. She also recently completed the EPIC research project, which studied the variations in how written curriculum is implemented. Currently, she is leading the MCLE Project (Mathematically Captivating Lesson Experiences), funded by the National Science Foundation, to learn how the design of mathematics lessons can attract or repel students.

The MCLE (Mathematically Captivating Learning Experiences) Project is funded by the National Science Foundation. It explores how secondary mathematics teachers can plan and enact learning experiences that spur student curiosity, captivate students with complex mathematical content, and compel students to engage and persevere (referred to as "mathematically captivating learning experiences" or "MCLEs"). This study is important because of persistent disinterest by secondary students in mathematics in the United States. This study will examine how high school teachers can design lessons so that mathematical content itself is the source of student intrigue, pursuit, and passion. To do this, the content within mathematical lessons (both planned and enacted) is framed as mathematical stories and the felt tension between how information is revealed and withheld from students as the mathematical story unfolds is framed as its mathematical plot. The Mathematical Story Framework (Dietiker, 2013, 2015) foregrounds both the coherence (does the story make sense?) and aesthetic (does it stimulate anticipation for what is to come, and if so, how?) dimensions of mathematics lessons. The project will generate principles for lesson design usable by teachers in other settings and exemplar lessons that can be shared.

Specifically, this project draws from prior curriculum research and design to (a) develop a theory of teacher MCLE design and enactment with the Mathematical Story Framework, (b) increase the understanding(s) of the aesthetic nature of mathematics curriculum by both researchers and teachers, and (c) generate detailed MCLE exemplars that demonstrate curricular coherence, cognitive demand, and aesthetic dimensions of mathematical lessons. The project is grounded in a design-based research framework for education research. A team of experienced high school teachers will design and test MCLEs (four per teacher) with researchers through three year-long cycles. Prior to the first cycle, data will be collected (interview, observations) to record initial teacher curricular strategies regarding student dispositions toward mathematics. Then, a professional development experience will introduce the Mathematical Story Framework, along with other curricular frameworks to support the planning and enacting of lessons (i.e., cognitive demand and coherence). During the design cycles, videotaped observations and student aesthetic measures (surveys and interviews) for both MCLEs and a non-MCLEs (randomly selected to be the lesson before or after the MCLE) will be collected to enable comparison. Also, student dispositional measures, collected at the beginning and end of each cycle, will be used to learn whether and how student attitudes in mathematics change over time. Of the MCLEs designed and tested, a sample will be selected (based on aesthetic and mathematical differences) and developed into models, complete with the rationale for and description of aesthetic dimensions.

Learn more about Dr. Dietiker's MCLE Project (Mathematically Captivating Lesson Experiences).

Visit Dr. Dietiker's Faculty Profile
For the Love of Math: Dr. Leslie Dietiker awarded $900K NSF CAREER Grant
Professor Dietiker Awarded MET Early Career Research Grant

Ryan, L., & Dietiker, L. (2018). Engaging learners with plot twists. Teaching Children Mathematics, 24(5), 316–323.

Dietiker, L., Brakoniecki, A., & Riling, M. (2017). The changing expectations for the reading of geometric diagrams. In E. Galindo & J. Newton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 136–143). Indianapolis, IN: Hoosier Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Dietiker, L., Kysh, J., Sallee, G. T., & Hoey, B. (2017). Calculus (3rd edition). Sacramento, CA: CPM Educational Program.

Dietiker, L. (2016). Generating student interest with mathematical stories. Mathematics Teacher, 110(4), 304–308.

Dietiker, L. (2016). The role of sequence in the experience of mathematical beauty. In a special issue on mathematical beauty in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 6(1), 152–173. http://doi.org/10.5642/jhummath.201601.10

Dietiker, L. (2015). Shaping mathematics into compelling stories: A curriculum design heuristic. Educational Designer, 2(8), 1–17.

Males, L. M., Earnest, D., Dietiker, L., & Amador, J. M. (2015). Examining K-12 prospective teachers’ curricular noticing. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the North American chapter of the international group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (pp. 88–95). East Lansing, MI.

Brakoniecki, A., Miller, E., Richman, A., & Dietiker, L. (2015). Contrasting mathematical plots: A study of “identical” mathematics lessons. In Proceedings of the annual meeting of the North American chapter of the international group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. East Lansing, MI.

Dietiker, L. (2015). What mathematics education can learn from art: The assumptions, values, and vision of mathematics education. Journal of Education, 195(1), 1–10.

Dietiker, L. (2014). Telling new stories, Reconceptualizing textbook reform in mathematics. Proceedings of the International Conference of Mathematics Textbooks Research and Development (ICMTRD). Southampton, UK.

Dietiker, L., and Brakoniecki, A. (2014). Reading Geometrically: The Negotiation of Expected Meaning of Diagrams in Mathematics Textbooks. Proceedings of the International Conference of Mathematics Textbooks Research and Development (ICMTRD) 2014, July 29-31, 2014. Southampton, UK.

Dietiker, L. (2013). Mathematics texts as narrative: Rethinking curriculum. For the Learning of Mathematics, 33(3), 14–19.

Smith, J. P., Males, L. M., Dietiker, L. C., Lee, K., & Mosier, A. (2013). Curricular Treatments of Length Measurement in the United States: Do They Address Known Learning Challenges? Cognition and Instruction, 31(4), 388–433. doi:10.1080/07370008.2013.828728

Dietiker, L., Gonulates, F., & Smith III, J. P. (2011). Understanding linear measure. Teaching Children Mathematics, 18(4), 252-259, Reston, VA.

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