High school students continue to lack a full understanding of key financial concepts, but their financial literacy is improving-albeit slowly.
   That was the conclusion of a recent survey by the JumpStart Coalition, a non-profit group dedicated to improving financial literacy among students in kindergarten through college.
   The survey tested students on a variety of personal finance basics., according to the coalition.
   Among the findings:
    Only 22.7% of the 5,775 12th grade high school students surveyed-in 37 states-knew that interest on savings bonds may be taxable if one's income is high enough
    Only 40.3% knew that they could lose their health insurance if their parents become unemployed.
    Only 14.2% felt that stocks are likely to have higher average returns than savings bonds, savings accounts and checking accounts over the next 18 years.
   Students did show slight improvement, with an average survey score of 52.4%-compared to 52.3% in the last survey taken in 2003-2004. Students, however, are still below their high score of 57.3%, achieved in 1997-98. The low score since the survey was launched was 50.2% in 2002.
   "This indicates that, despite the attention now paid to the lack of financial literacy, the problem is not about to resolve itself any time soon," says Lewis Mandell, professor of finance and managerial economics at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management, and the academic who conducted the survey.
   Also troubling, organizers of the survey say, is the fact that scores reveal a racial and household income gap when it comes to financial literacy.
White students scored an average of 55%, while African Americans averaged 44.7% and Hispanics averaged 46.8%.
   Students from families with household incomes of more than $80,000 per year scored higher on average than those in the next highest group, with household incomes of $40,000 to $80,000.