Question about stealing

Back in school, I remember when teachers would make grading mistakes and give higher scores. Is it immoral to accept the higher score without talking to the teacher about his/her error? Are we to responsible for what we did not do when the damage is minimal (some points)?

Heck I wouldn’t complain if a teacher made a slight grading error for the better. I think the better question is, did you understand what the test was about. Stealing would be you writing down a higher score than you desereved.

I would take the grade also :slight_smile: … but i’m not sure if that is immoral though. But, i know that if a cashier made a mistake and gave me more money back, than that is something i think i would feel bad about.

I’m in the minority right now, but I will continue…

When I was in tech school in the Air Force, we were reviewing a test we had taken as a class. We hadn’t received our papers back, yet. I knew that I had blown at least 4 answers and would be flunking that test. This involved me having to take the class over and losing 6 months of time. On one of the answers, however, I had written the correct answer first, erased it, and marked the incorrect answer.

To my surprise, when the instructor handed back my paper, that particular answer was written correctly! With only three wrong, I would pass the class.

This wasn’t right. My angel started nagging me immediately. As soon as the class was over, I took the test to the instructor, and pointed out that I had answered that question incorrectly. He admitted he had changed it only because I had the proper answer to begin with, he wouldn’t have changed it if it had been incorrect the first time. I protested that this didn’t seem right to me. He said he had done this so that I could graduate on time, and join up with my husband (we were newly weds). I protested again. He then “pulled rank” on me, telling me that I’d better keep it to myself, or he could lose his job! At that point, I stopped protesting.

I have kept this to myself for over 30 years.

But, it still makes me feel guilty that he changed my answer, even though he did it for what he thought were good reasons. I still feel that I got away with “cheating” somehow, even though there wasn’t much I could do without getting him dismissed.

I would tell the teacher, even if it means you might have to take the class over again. Your soul will be clear and at peace.

Just my $0.02

I think you are being slightly scrupulous.A teacher is given a little leeway in grading. Perhaps a student works really hard to improve their grades and the teacher notices. The teacher may give a little higher score to encourage the student to continue improving. The student is in no way stealing or doing anything unethical.

I’d say it’s only wrong if, for example, you were then to be rewarded for doing well over someone who’d genuinely got the answers right.

Here’s another example. You trade in your old car at the car dealer. You negotiate 500 dollars and you get 800$. Can you keep your mouth shut?

What about someone willfully gives you what is on the test by way of “know this and know that” without you asking for his/her help? Do you not take the test or purposefully get those answers wrong?

Let’s say the test is one of ability, an ability that other humans will rely upon for their very lives. Say the ability to pilot or shoot a rifle. If the grade difference indicates a difference in skill level that will matter, I would not accept the grade whatsoever. I could place another in danger.

If it is less important, I still out of charity and fairness to the other students would tell the teacher of the error. The amount of effort I must use to do this decreases down to very little if any in the case of a small fraction of a point that won’t change anything. I would make the effort in some cases, and I might not in others. It depends on how much effort would be involved.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit