Figures released by the Department for Education showed 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in 2017, up from 53% in 2016.
This means 39% failed to reach the expected standard across all three subjects of reading, writing and maths this year.
More than half a million 11-year-olds across England took national curriculum tests, known as SATs, in May, with the results used in annual school league tables to assess a school's performance.
The figures show an improvement on last year in all areas with 71% of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, compared with 66% last year, while 75% of pupils met the expected standard in maths, compared with 70% last year.
The expected standard in grammar, punctuation and spelling was met by 77% of pupils, compared with 73% last year, and 76% of pupils met the expected standard in writing, compared with 74% last year.
To reach the expected standard in all of reading, writing and maths, a pupil must achieve a scaled score of 100 or more in reading and mathematics tests and a teacher assessment outcome of "reaching the expected standard" or "working at a greater depth" in writing.
School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "Today's results show sustained progress in reading, writing and maths and are a testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils across England.
"Thanks to their commitment and our new knowledge-rich curriculum, thousands more children will arrive at secondary school having mastered the fundamentals of reading, writing and maths, giving them the best start in life."