Any natural way to split grade transition ( AA vs AB etc) thresholds for a large class?

Our University follows a letter grading system with discrete A through D ( including half grades like AB, BC etc) I have a relatively large class ( around 100 students).

No matter where I select my grade transitions ( eg A vs AB), there's always some student(s) who "just" lost an A and thay creates a barrage of emails requesting me to consider a better grade. That's the inherent problem of converting a continuous distribution of marks to a discrete set of grades. In other words, if I just had to report a continuous score I don't think the 79 student would agonize about not having recieved an 80. On the other hand, when 79 leads to a BC but 80 leads to a BB, the student does have a greater incentive to complain.

The situation is worse for large classes since the distribution is so dense that there are no natural breaks where say there are no students in a 5 mark interval and that can serve as a grade break. A student does not mind losing an A by 5 marks than "just" 1 mark.

Of course, I kind of see the students point of view as well. On one hand we do tell them not to fight for each small mark but on the other hand a 79 could mean a BC vs a 80 a BB. So I guess the subjectiveness gets amplified.

Is there any workaround that anyone has? How do I make the grading "fair". Or at least give it some semblance of fairness so that I avoid this annual headache.

Would pre annuancing thresholds make a 79-vs-80 penalty seem more fair? I don't see a way out.

Ps. Personally I've started thinking this mapping of continuous to discrete ( at individual course level) to then continuous again ( at a degree level) while calculating a CPI ( which can be a 9.1 and not just an A) does not make much sense. I would rather the university just had us report a continuous score and summed it up over all the courses. But that's beyond me to change!

• If you need to make a distinction, well, there really is no way around it. Like many other times in life… Commented Apr 19 at 17:59
• @JonCuster so basically go with the scores, ignore the complaints and not try to second guess myself? Commented Apr 19 at 19:01