Just over half of primary school pupils met the new required standards in reading, writing and maths, national SATs results show.
Figures released by Department of Education show that 53% of children met the new expected standards.
The data is the first tranche released since the introduction of a new testing system in 2014, which led to a major overhaul of the curriculum.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that as this is the first year students have been tested using the new, more rigorous system, it is "no surprise" the results look different to those of previous years.
"Despite that, the majority of pupils have achieved above and beyond the new expected standard," she added.
The introduction of the new tougher SATs sparked outrage from parents, who said the tests were overstretching children.