Leslie Dietiker

Associate Professor

Leslie Dietiker

Dr. Leslie Dietiker is an associate 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.

Dr. Dietiker is an elected board member of the International Society of the Design and Development of Education (ISDDE) and is on the Advisory Board of the CPM Educational Program, a nonprofit that works to improve the teaching of mathematics in middle and high schools through curriculum and professional development. 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 has received National Board Certification and is a lead author of seven mathematics textbooks for grades 6–12 with the nonprofit CPM Educational Program. Information on her current research project can be found at http://sites.bu.edu/mcle/.

  • National Board Certification, 2001
  • STaR (Service, Teaching and Research) Fellow, 2013
  • Finalist (top 3) article for the NCTM 2012 Linking Research and Practice Award, 2012
  • University Distinguished Fellowship, Michigan State University, 2006 – 2011
  • Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum Fellow, 2006 – 2011


  • Member of Research Committee of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE)
  • Professional development at schools in Boston Area
  • BU Wheelock Chair of the Faculty Assembly 2019 – present
  • BU IRB Review Board, 2018 – 2019
  • BU Wheelock elected member of Standing Research Committee, 2014 – 2018
  • Elected member of the International Society for the Design and Development of Education (ISDDE)
  • Member of the Board of Directors of CPM Educational Program.


PhD, Mathematics Education, Michigan State University

BS, Mathematics, California State University, San Luis Obispo

ME 547 Methods of Teaching Mathematics: High School,

ME 558 Mathematics Curriculum: Programs, Issues, & Trends,

ME 363/563 Problem Solving

ME 703 Curriculum Research and Theory in Mathematics Education.

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).

Projects & Grants

National Science Foundation (NSF), CAREER: Designing and Enacting Mathematically Captivating Learning Experiences for High School Mathematics, PI, awarded $898,673, 2/15/2017 – 1/31/2022.

CPM Educational Program, Enhancing the Potential of Implemented Curriculum in Mathematics (EPIC Math), PI, awarded $360,101, 5/1/2014 – 10/1/2017.

National Science Foundation (NSF), Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Program, Boston University’s BEST Program (Bringing Engineers to STEM Teaching), Co-PI (PI: Suzanne Chapin), awarded $1,200,000, 9/1/2013 – 8/31/2018. Extended to 8/31/2019

Visit Dr. Dietiker's Faculty Profile

Richman, A. S., Dietiker, L., & Riling, M. (2019). The plot thickens: The aesthetic dimensions of a captivating mathematics lesson. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmathb.2018.08.005

Dietiker, L., Males, L. M., Amador, J. M., & Earnest, D. (2018). Curricular noticing: A framework to describe teachers’ interactions with curriculum materials. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (JRME), 49(5), 521–532. https://www.nctm.org/Publications/Journal-for-Research-in-Mathematics-Education/2018/Vol49/Issue5/Curricular-Noticing_-A-Framework-to-Describe-Teachers_-Interactions-With-Curriculum-Materials/

Riling, M., & Dietiker, L. (2018). Given a traditional textbook... Now what? Mathematics Teacher, 112(3), 212–219.https://www.nctm.org/Publications/Mathematics-Teacher/2018/Vol112/Issue3/Given-a-Traditional-Textbook%E2%80%94Now-What_/

Dietiker, L., & Riling, M. (2018). Design (In)tensions in mathematics curriculum. International Journal of Educational Research, 92, 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2018.09.001

Ryan, L., & Dietiker, L. (2018). Engaging learners with plot twists. Teaching Children Mathematics, 24(5), 316–323.https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5951/teacchilmath.24.5.0316

Dietiker, L., Riling, M., & Gates, M. (2019). The Impact of Mathematically Captivating Learning Experiences. Annual Meeting of the Psychology of Mathematics Education - North American Chapter, 96–100.

Dietiker, L., & Miller, E. R. (2018). Curricular Contributions for Aesthetic Engagement in Mathematics [Paper]. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Research Conference, Washington, D.C.

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

Dietiker, L., Richman, A. S., Brakoniecki, A., & Miller, E. R. (2016). Woo! Aesthetic variations of the “same” lesson. In M. B. Wood, E. E. Turner, M. Civil, & J. A. Eli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the North American chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA) (pp. 66–73). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.

Richman, A. S., Miller, E. R., Brakoniecki, A., & Dietiker, L. (2016). Opportunities created by misdirection in mathematics lessons. In M. B. Wood, E. E. Turner, M. Civil, & J. A. Eli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th annual meeting of the North American chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA) (pp. 109–112). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.

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