I thought I was going to have my first semester without a single request to change a student's grade. I was wrong. I ended up getting one last Friday, making me suspect that there won't ever be a semester without at least one.
Following are a few recommendations for newer faculty to help minimize the number of complaints from students. I would love to hear other ideas in the comments.
Ensure clear grading guidelines are communicated in your syllabus in advance
Direct the student to the appropriate pages of your syllabus where they can read more about yur grading policies
Inform the student that you will not respond to future emails (or you wind up in a endless loop of back-and-forth)
Consider saving the first email you write of a response to a student, so you can copy/paste it to other students who may have similar requests
Let the student know where to direct concerns about the fairness or integrity of your grading (e.g. your Dean)
When all else fails, a good belly laugh is in order… Just when I thought that I was the only professor who experienced this with such regularity, I came across this thread from The Chronicle of Higher Education. This is worth a read, if nothing else… to ensure you keep your sense of humor about the whole thing. I was so surprised at the creativity of the professors and how well they capture so many of the students and the parents of today.