Neatness is a very subjective thing. What is neat and organized to one person, may not be for another. One definition of NEAT is "done with or demonstrating skill or efficiency." Skill or efficiency... those are two KEY elements of handwriting.
Neatness in handwriting may also sound like "legibility." Is the writing legible? Is the reader able to read the writing easily? But when we break down legibility or "neatness" into two elements, skill and efficiency, it is usually pretty obvious if there is a breakdown.
Is the child SKILLED in handwriting? Meaning do they have all of the necessary underlying components, such as grip strength, coordination, posture, visual perception, and so on. . . We typically look at these as compared to other children their age and grade. We may also look at these skills differently depending on a child's medical background and any underlying diagnoses. Nonetheless, neatness depends on a child's skills.
Similarly, is the child EFFICIENT in handwriting? Does it take the children a significant amount of time to physically write letters? Are they putting so much effort into forming letters that their thoughts are not being communicated through their writing? Being efficient doesn't necessarily mean speed either. Children who rush through writing leads to a finished product that is neither neat nor efficient as the product of their speedy efforts will lead to having to re-do the assignment, misunderstanding if the work isn't legible, etc.
Our goal at Handwriting Solutions is to develop NEAT writers... writers who have new skills and apply those skills in an efficient way to get their personal best results! When handwriting becomes more neat and less effortful, a child can spend that energy on their thoughts, comprehension, and written expression.